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Sarasota free shuttle service makes some changes, including charging riders

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-02 17:52:17-05

SARASOTA, Fla. — Riding around downtown Sarasota for free ends after Wednesday, Jan. 2.

The city has cut ties with the iride shuttle service, which currently helps hundreds get around the city with ease.

"it's great," said Sandra Myer.

Myer had a stroke two years ago. She started riding iride in 2018 because she can no longer drive.

"It's really helped me. They take me to the grocery store," she said. "They've been good to me."

The city says it is cutting ties with iride's parent company — Gotcha — for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is the cost to fund it. The city spent $340,000 to get iride here, but the company says it needs more money to keep the service going.

Gotcha will now take over now that the city is no longer funding it. The company is going to bring in new cars with the Gotcha logo, and there will now be a $3 fee for the rides.

"That basically takes away the charm that it has," said Vanessa Maldonado.

She and her daughter like taking iride when they're visiting because it's easy, fast and most of all, free. Now that there will be a charge, "we can be using the shuttle that the hotels have to offer."

Some locals, like Myer are fine with the fee. They say it's still cheaper than a ride share or taxi, and faster than the bus.

Iride will stop running at 8 Wednesday night. The New paid Gotcha service will start on January 10.