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.

 

About the Blogger

Henry Frederick's picture

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, launched in 2008, as Florida's first around-the-clock online newspaper. Frederick is among Florida's most experienced reporters specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting and winner of multiple state, regional & national journalism awards in Florida, New York, Massachusetts & Connecticut. The first of his three books, "Creepy Ass Cracker" (842 pages, Xlibris), hits bookstores this Fall. 
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