Free Shuttle Service to come to downtown Tampa in next month

Similar to same concept before
Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 17:23:44-04

While the Public Transportation Commission battles with Uber & Lyft, they are sponsoring a new shuttle service for downtown Tampa.

The complimentary service will be run through a Florida based company, Downtowner.

The company is hiring 20 drivers in the area for its 12 cars that will run from 10 to 12 hours a day.

Downtowner isn't a new concept, in fact, Hop on Tampa, was started six years ago with the exact same business model by Todd Persico.

Persico, temporarily in Chicago, tells us via Skype he invested $100,000 into the service because of the need in the bay area.

"I could not charge without a permit," said Persico.

Persico said that's why his rides were free and he was able to sell advertising on the cars -- eventually the PTCs safety demands became too much and he shut his new company down.

"It was too much fighting as far as trying to provide something that was needed yet getting so much push back from the people who need it."

Persico said he had the support of the downtown partnership, but not from the PTC.

"Hillsborough County is probably the toughest county, maybe in the country, with our PTC to get this type of service in."

And, one of the main sponsors of Downtowner -- like Hop on Tampa -- is the PTC.

A public information person for the PTC said the company is agreeing to regulations including fingerprinting drivers for safety.