UPDATE: The city’s transportation RFP (request for proposal) was multi-faceted, asking for companies to handle a fixed route as well as point-to-point or a combination of the two. The selection committee chose the Roundabout, owned by First Transit, for the fixed route. The fate of the point-to-point is still in the air, and the RFP has not been voted on by the city commission.
The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency will be discussing the trolley at its Sept. 11 meeting.
Delray Downtowner announced on a Facebook group that it would be ending its operations on Oct. 1.
The multi-person golf carts, mainly funded by ad revenue, is a free ride service throughout downtown that locals and visitors have enjoyed since it started in 2012. The Downtowner has since expanded to Aspen, Tampa, Manhattan Beach, California, New Port Beach, California, and Boca Raton.
Stephen Murray, the CEO of the company, posted the news on the private group, Delray Raw, where he said it was “one of the most difficult things we’ve had to announce as a company.”
In his note, he said that over time, cities where the Downtowner is located forged formal relationships with the company because its services helped with traffic and parking as people were no longer reliant on bringing their own vehicles into downtown corridors. This year, the city of Delray Beach put out an RFP (request for proposal) to look into transit options throughout the city.
“I can’t explain how excited we were at the prospect of working with our hometown on implementing a bigger and better Downtowner service. Our vision was to expand our service area, giving more people access to our growing downtown, and connect people to the tri-rail in a user-friendly manner,” Murray writes.
The RFP was awarded to the city’s Roundabout trolley service for a five-year renewal.
“We were hoping that after Delray’s RFP process, we could smoothly transition into a bigger and better-serving system. Unfortunately, the time has come for us to make a business decision, and focus on the work that sincerely fulfills and challenges us every day,” Murray writes.
The loss of the Downtowner as a mode of transportation comes just months after the city of Delray Beach implemented parking fees downtown.