Later this spring, free weekend rides to help people navigate Hamilton’s urban core is set to begin.
Dustin Ward, CEO of LocalMotive, said they plan to launch their four GEM e6 vehicles in mid-to-late May or early June. Ward said he and his brothers, Derrick and Devan, were planning to launch just three to start, with one on standby in case the demand is high, but the early apparent success of Spooky Nook has shown the demand is already there.
“It was great to see that first big tournament,” he said. “Seeing all the volume just reassured me what we’re doing and how we can provide a great service for the community.”
Last month, Spooky Nook had its first big weekend where an estimated 15,000-plus people were at the sports complex on North B Street over the weekend of Feb. 11 and 12. This weekend will see a projected 22,400 with a basketball tournament planned, according to Spooky Nook owner Sam Beiler’s January presentation to Hamilton City Council.
Ward said his brother, Derrick, and their father, Elden, observed the pedestrian and vehicle traffic around the city’s urban core that weekend. This weekend, Dustin will be out noting where people are headed during lunchtime hours, and how they’re getting there.
“That’s one of the big things that I’m going to look at,” he said. “I’ll just keep driving on the route, seeing the traffic flow, and monitoring it all.”
LocalMotive will take a 2.5-mile loop around the urban core that takes about 10 minutes to complete with designated stops, which now include Spooky Nook, Marcum Park, and two stops along Main Street. Additional stops could be added. Each vehicle can take up to five passengers.
This service is a welcome option for visitors to the city, officials said.
“With parking being a premium in Hamilton’s urban core area, LocalMotive’s free shuttle system will be a much-needed alternative to driving, helping to reduce traffic congestion in the corridors,” said Mallory Greenham, assistant to the city manager.
“We believe the fleet will be a significant development that will provide an excellent alternative transportation option for both tourists and locals, providing a convenient and environmentally friendly way for everyone to move around the urban core, and help provide a boost for local businesses.”
The service is paid for through advertising, both an exterior wrap on the vehicle and video ads on in-vehicle iPads, and advertising opportunities are still available for both options, Ward said.
The shuttle service operations will be on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, though they initially planned for Thursdays as well but took that off the calendar for now.
The bottom line for Ward and his brothers, all of whom are Hamilton natives, is “to keep people in Hamilton and showcase the businesses and offerings that Hamilton has to offer while they’re here in town.” At the same time, allowing local businesses to advertise both on the vehicles and inside the vehicles.
Any business owner that wishes to advertise, either on the exterior wrap or the in-vehicle iPad, can contact Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 513-479-4314.
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