1. News
  2. /
  3. Pinellas

St. Pete Beach to offer minibus service to Pass-a-Grille

The service will replace PSTA buses south of the Don Cesar hotel
St. Pete Beach will offer free shuttles to Pass-a-Grille. [St. Pete Beach]
Published Oct. 3

ST. PETE BEACH — The city will soon implement its own micro-transit bus service and begin ferrying passengers from the area of the Don Cesar Hotel into Pass-a-Grille.

City commissioners recently unanimously agreed to enter into a contract with Miami-based Beefree, which operates under the name Freebee, to provide transit service currently handled by Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority buses.

Freebee provides free rides on eco-friendly cars that are similar to golf carts.

RELATED STORY: St. Pete Beach draws line in sand over buses

The city received only one response to its request for proposals in August, City Manager Alex Rey told commissioners.

According to its Facebook page, “Freebee is an alternative transportation service and marketing platform that currently services Downtown Miami, Miami Beach, and Key Biscayne with a fleet of fully customized 100 percent electric vehicles.”

City commissioners agreed to accept Freebee’s bid to provide three years of service for an amount not to exceed $794,174, with the option to request an extension of the contract for two additional one-year periods.

Rey told commissioners terminating its PSTA service from the Don CeSar into Pass-A-Grille saved the city about $150,000. Vehicles will also have a video screen that can play information about events and advertisements from businesses, he added.

Commissioner Melinda Pletcher said the service will allow employees who work along the route to use a smart phone app and find a more efficient way to get to work.

“I am so excited about this service,” she said. “When I think of all the people who will benefit from it, it’s going to be amazing.”

Rey told commissioners the company will be procuring a new vehicle, which holds about five passengers and has a manufacturing lead time of six to eight weeks. The micro-transit service is expected to begin operations around mid-November to early December.

The micro-transit service will operate a route through the Pass-a-Grille neighborhood from the Don Cesar Hotel down to First Avenue, following a similar route as PSTA’s Central Trolley service, with the ability to deviate from the route for on-demand trip requests, which will pick up and drop off riders closer to their origin or destination.

In addition, riders can also request Freebee service either by phone app or by flagging down a vehicle.

The Freebee service offers a mobile app platform that allows riders to track vehicles in real time.


  1. Candice Anderson, left, and Alsace Walentine, co-owners of Tombolo Books, rearrange books as attendees of the Times Festival of Reading leave the University Student Center behind them. [Jack Evans | Times]
    The shop plans to open next to Black Crow on First Ave. S before the new year.
  2. An opened capsule containing Kratom. The Clearwater City Council was confronted by dozens of concerned citizens at a recent meeting who urged them not to ban the herbal supplement. Times
    “Our recommendation right now is, we don’t think there’s a need to regulate it.”
  3. Damian J. Fernandez, center, is introduced Monday as the new president of Eckerd College. He will succeed longtime president Donald R. Eastman III on July 1. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Damian Fernandez, 62, will succeed president Donald R. Eastman III, who steps down June 30 after leading the school for 19 years.
  4. Bicyclist Steven Weldon was struck by a white sedan while pedaling along the Pinellas Trail earlier this month. St. Petersburg Police Department
    Steven Weldon could have exercised more caution, according to St. Petersburg Police, but won’t face any charges.
  5. An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that two-thirds of Medicare Part D beneficiaries, or about 9 million people who don’t receive low-income subsidies, will see their monthly premium increase for next year if they stay in their current plan. To sort through your options, visit the Times' Medicare guide at or contact Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, a state program commonly known as SHINE. Contact them at 1-800-963-5337 or MICHELE MILLER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    About 9 million people with Medicare Part D plans will see higher premiums if they don’t make a change before Dec. 7, a new study says.
  6. Much work has been completed on the Selmon Extension project, but we still have a way to go before the construction and ongoing detours on Gandy Boulevard end by the projected fall 2020 completion date. MONIQUE WELCH  |  Monique Welch | Times
    The ongoing project along Gandy Boulevard began in February but still has a lot of work left before its projected fall 2020 completion date.
  7. Dusty Hill (left) and Billy Gibbons (right) from ZZ Top perform prior to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at the St. Pete Times Forum in 2010. A ZZ Top concert in 2018 was the subject of a scathing Clearwater city audit of the Parks and Recreation Special Events division. KEVIN HOWE  |  Times archives
    The Parks and Recreation Department failed to keep sales receipts, invoices and other records of a 2018 concert.
  8. Frank Peterman Jr. (left) and Rene Flowers (right) are vying for the Pinellas County Commission District 7 seat. Peterman is a Baptist preacher and former St. Petersburg City Council member, state representative and Department of Juvenile Justice secretary. Flowers is a Pinellas County School Board member who also spent two terms on the City Council. [Photos courtesy Frank Peterman and Rene Flowers]
    School Board member Rene Flowers and former lawmaker Frank Peterman Jr. have filed to run. Both also spent time on the St. Petersburg City Council.
  9. Muhammad Abdur-Rahim points out the location of what is believed to be a former African American cemetery next to the parking lot of FrankCrum Staffing located at 100 S. Missouri Ave. in Clearwater.  The empty lot is part of the former Clearwater Heights neighborhood which featured Williams Elementary School. JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times
    Those raised in Clearwater Heights say unmarked graves are in an empty field near the corner of Madison Avenue and Gould Street.
  10. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The driver faces charges of driving under the influence and refusal to submit to testing.