New company offering free golf cart rides in downtown and OTR
A new company is ferrying Cincinnatians between downtown, Over-the-Rhine and the Banks in electric golf carts – for free.
Gest, which stands for Green Easy Safe Transportation, piloted its service over the New Year’s weekend and is now in a soft opening mode in Cincinnati’s urban core. Co-owner Patrick Dye, who started Gest with his wife, Lauren, was inspired by an experience he had in Nashville.
“A buddy of mine grabbed a golf cart and picked us up and it got the idea rolling,” Dye told me. As it so happens, his family owns a golf cart distribution company.
Dye has lived downtown for nearly a decade and was inspired by the revitalization of the urban core. He started Gest to make it easier for urbanites and visitors to get around between all of the things the Banks, downtown and OTR have to offer. Gest operates from the Banks at the southern border of Cincinnati to Rhinegeist in the north. Limitations of the electric motors of the golf carts prohibit them from making it up the hills into Clifton or Mount Adams.
Gest is currently operating Friday and Saturday evenings from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. The company is working on developing an app to hail a ride – that should be available this spring – so currently if you want a ride you have to get one the old fashioned way: if you see a Gest electric golf cart, stick out your hand and hail it.
Gest is free to ride, and the plan is to keep it that way because of corporate advertising sponsorships. Dye said he has a number of contracts signed but doesn’t want to disclose with whom until the advertising rolls out. Each golf cart has a backlit LED roof rack that can display advertising as well as vinyl wraps to cover the carts in a sponsor’s branding.
Each cart – Gest currently has six with another 25 warehoused in Fort Wayne, Ind. – also has a weatherproof exterior cover and heater to guard against the cold and rain. The carts also have stereo systems and Bluetooth connections so riders can play their own music during a trip. Each cart can carry five to seven passengers.
Gest so far is self-funded. Patrick and Lauren Dye also own Scene Ultra Lounge at 637 Walnut St., downtown.
Gest is the first electric golf cart company to ferry people around Cincinnati’s urban core, but a group of entrepreneurs announced late last year that they are also piloting an electric golf cart ride service.