1. Business

Free, eco-friendly taxi service is coming to downtown St. Petersburg this August

The Nickel Ride will start offering rides in St. Petersburg in August. [Courtesy of the Nickel Ride]
Published Jul. 13, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — As downtowns grow — like St. Petersburg's burgeoning central city — so does traffic, carbon emission and the amount of money spent on gas.

The Nickel Ride, a free, eco-friendly taxi service, is looking to change that, and the next city on its rollout is St. Petersburg.

This will be the ride-sharing service's fourth city, after starting in Fort Myers in 2017. Judah Longgrear, the company's founder and CEO, said coming to St. Petersburg's downtown is a "no-brainer," and that he hopes to expand to other Tampa Bay metro areas soon.

The Nickel Ride gets its name from offering rides to five people at a time, taking them to their desired locations in most of downtown. It's funded by partnerships with local businesses through advertising, Longgrear said.

"You can think of our vehicles as interactive billboards," he said.

Each of eight electric vehicles used in St. Pete will have television screens inside that display advertisements, and drivers will pass out business swag products and coupons to riders.

Longgrear said The Nickel Ride will hire 15 drivers who will work for tips. The company will start posting job opportunities on its website website within the next week.

Users can hail a ride along the route or use the mobile app, which will be up and running in time for the service's local launch. It will be available for locals and tourists alike, including people working in downtown that want to catch a ride to lunch as well as for safe bar-hopping on weekend nights.

The Nickel Ride will operate within the I-175, I-275, and I-375 highways to North Straub Park to The Dali Museum area.

Its proposed hours of operation will be:

Monday- Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.

Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill will host a launch party at 6 p.m. Aug. 3 open to the public, including potential business partners.

"I think it will be a home run, " Longgrear said.

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Contact Hannah Denham at Follow @hannah_denham1.


  1. Jamie Harden of Creative Sign Designs and Maryann Ferenc of Mise en Place discuss priorities for the Tampa Bay Chamber for the coming year. Harden is the outgoing chairman of the chamber. Ferenc is the incoming chairwoman. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times
    Leadership of the organization, formerly the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, also says it could have handled its recent name change better.
  2. The snow park in Pasco County will be known Snowcat Ridge Alpine Snow Park and is scheduled to open in November 2020. Snowcat Ridge Alpine Snow Park
    The park in rural east Pasco anticipates opening in November 2020.
  3. Renderings of the proposed Red Apple Group project show a 20-story hotel on the west side of the block, and a building of about six stories facing Central with parking, shops and offices. The 45-story condo tower rises at an angle on the east side of the block. Courtesy of Arquitectonica
    The $300 million project by Red Apple Group would include a hotel and badly needed parking space.
  4. A helicopter lands at Tampa General Hospital, one of 66 Florida hospitals that could benefit from a proposal contained in Gov. Ron DeSantis' new budget, a new analysis finds. JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Tampa General is among the hospitals that would receive money from a proposal seeking to hand out $10 million in new funding.
  5. This single-family home at 913 Pineview Avenue, in Clearwater (Monday, December 2, 2019), has seen foreclosures, flippers, upgrades and a big price swing. The current owners, Keith Lynch and Mallory Lynch, are the seventh owners of the house since 2006 - they moved here from San Francisco. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes
    A 1950s ranch-style house in Clearwater has had seven owners in 13 years.
  6. Amazon contract drive, Manuel Moreno of Pinellas Park delivers packages on Dec. 4 throughout the Pinellas Point neighborhood of St. Petersburg. BILL VARIAN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    We break down how to report a stolen package, when to contact police and whether a Ring camera is worth it.
  7. Work nears completion Wednesday on a common area inside the new USF Health building that will serve as a centerpiece of the Water Street Tampa development in downtown. The 13-story tower is set to open in January. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The long-anticipated building, part of Water Street Tampa, will welcome students on Jan. 13.
  8. Florida Public Service Commissioner Julie Brown was appointed to the board of directors for the national organization that oversees utility regulation. Pictured is Brown. | [Courtesy of the Florida Public Service Commission]
    Brown will serve as one of 20 board member for the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners.
  9. Concentrix has told the state of Florida that it plans to lay off as many as 245 employees from one of the programs it has at the Interstate Corporate Center east of Tampa. Google Street View
    Despite the layoffs, the California-based company says it is trying to attract other clients for its Tampa office.
  10. Dr. Akshay Desai, founder of now-defunct  Universal Health Care. .
    The health maintenance organization at one point had 140,000 members in 23 states.