There is such a thing as a free ride in New Smyrna Beach with 'NSBFree'

NSBNEWS.NET IS NEW SMYRNA BEACH'S DAILY ONLINE NEWSPAPER

Jim LongNSBNEWS.NET photos and videos by Henry Frederick / Jim Nelson, the city of New Smyrna Beach's tennis pro, moonlights as a driver for "NSBFree," which shuttles people for free all over the New Smyrna Beach beachside and even parts of the mainland near the North and South Causeway bridges such as Canal Street. The people in the vehicle are surfers from Barbados here for a surfing tournament Saturday near the South Jetty. NSBNews.net went along for a ride with Nelson and the surfing visitors.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- They say there's no such thing as a free ride, but residents and visitors alike in New Smyrna Beach beg to differ with "NSBFree."

 And they're doing it in an eco-friendly way: the open-air 5-passenger golf-cart vehicle is fully electric.

"It's fun, convenient, and no one needs to worry about who's driving," said Leslie Long, NSBFREE owner.

Long said she averages 50 rides a day.

Drivers often begin their travels with a 10 a.m. pick up at Bert Fish Medical Center, where patients prefer a "fun" alternative to public transportation.

The "regular dinner crowd" starts calling around 4 p.m. The day finishes by toting the nighttime crowd at 2 a.m. That's Long's version of a typical day, but drivers see a variety of riders.

"This week, we've met people from North Carolina, Texas, Chicago, Ohio and Indiana," Long said. "We always have people coming and going from homes, condos and hotels."

After a little more than two months of operation, the owners already need a second vehicle to keep up with demand.

Since Memorial Day, NSBFREE has given nearly 4,000 people a lift without asking for a dime to cover the gas. That's because the vehicle runs on electricity. To further cut costs, the drivers are volunteers who work for tips.

"Some people come into town on a yacht and want to go to Publix," Long said. "It's hysterical, and they tip well."

"Some people come into town on a yacht and want to go to Publix," Long said. "It's hysterical, and they tip well."

All NSBFREE drivers are tour guides who call out points of interest to their free fares, Long said, adding there's so much to see along the way. The service route is east of US 1 and stretches from Minorca to 27th Ave.

"Our longest trip is 5 minutes," she said.

Long enjoys providing a service to the community that is environmentally friendly.

However, this also is a business. NSBFREE sells ad space inside the six-seat, low-speed vehicle. This helps sponsoring businesses to share their messages with riders either in print or on a video that plays throughout the trip. It also helps to familiarize riders with things to do in New Smyrna Beach.

This type of service is not a new idea. Long did her homework by researching similar free-ride providers in destinations such as Miami and the Hamptons in New York.

One of those providers is preparing to franchise. That's not a surprise to Long who has seen interest in her service grow both in ridership and sponsorship interest.

The future looks bright either way she looks at it: "Worst case scenario is that we own a golf cart."

For more information or to schedule a ride, please call NSBFREE at 386-424-5655.

NSBNews.net, also known as VolusiaNews.net, provides Volusia County 24 / 7 Internet newspaper coverage, 100% free with breaking news, news of record and investigative reports from New Smyrna Beach, FL, for a 21st-century digital world.

 

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-New Smyrna Beach / Sanford-Orlando metropolitan region via HeadlineSurfer.com. Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net. Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Headline Surfer® Publisher Henry Frederick, is recognized as one of Florida's top award-winning cops & courts reporters, who has received more awards for such coverage than any other reporter working in Central Florida. He's the top journalist in the Florida Press Club two years running with seven journalism awards for 15 breaking news and investigative stories, three blogs and top internet site. He's the only reporter to win awards for coverage of the Trayvon Martin slaying as well as the subsequent George Zimmerman murder trial acquittal in Sanford. He's also won state, regional and national journalism awards for his coverage of cops and courts fear 8 1/2 years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, where he witnessed and reported on the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos and covered the civil trial brought by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt's widow to keep his autopsy files sealed. Before that before he covered cops & courts for Gannett Suburban Newspapers / The Journal News in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, where he won a highly-coveted Associated Press Award for breaking news. Before launching the 24/7 internet newspaper in 2008, he was an award-winning city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette, in his native Massachusetts for two years, winning a national investigative award on municipal corruption. The first of Frederick's three books, for which he has secured publishing rights, is called "Creepy Ass Cracker" (840 pages, Xlibris), which will hit bookstores in September. His second book, "Wrestling ReWind," is expected to be published in January 2015. The third book is not yet titled.
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