Although Pinellas County voters won't decide until this November about whether they're willing to pay for a major expansion in their transportation options, folks in the Pinellas County town of Gulfport got a boost in their transit needs this past weekend — and it won't cost a cent.
Well, not exactly, since it'd be considered pretty rude not to tip your Swoop driver, but the six-seat passenger golf cart that Gulfport denizens will soon get used to seeing regularly providing rides doesn't include a regular fare.
Swoop has been operating successfully taking people from one part of Miami Beach to another over the past five years, so when Gulfport Chamber of Commerce and Merchant Association members began contemplating options to alleviate the lack of parking in their downtown corridor, they called up Swoop's proprietor, Alex Smith, to see if he could provide some help. In fact, those discussions led to an agreement for Smith to bring his operation to Gulfport beginning August 1.
"We liked the area after our first discussion," Smith told CL on Thursday, where he was busy preparing for Swoop's Gulfport debut. "Instead of plugging holes for you guys to run it," he recalls telling one Gulfport official telling him, "why don't we just bring out our entire service and operation up here and do it the Swoop way?"
"It's added value to us," says Ward 3 city councilwoman Yolanda Roman, who says the service will alleviate the scarcity of parking options in the downtown area.
Swoop's Alex Smith says the company relies on advertising for its funding, which is why it's able to operate (and has successfully for years in Miami) without charging riders. If you have questions about the service, you can contact him at
And for folks who live or will be in Gulfport an want to ride? They can call (727) 201-6161 15-20 minutes prior to schedule a pickup.