NEW PORT RICHEY — The new parking garage on the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 19 and Main Street will soon be open for use and city leaders want to make sure guests can get downtown quickly, conveniently and safely.
Sitting as the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency on July 8, New Port Richey City Council members unanimously approved the purchase of an 11-seat electric shuttle with the primary purpose of transporting people to and from the new garage and downtown.
The model selected by city staff and voted on by council is Moto Electric Vehicles’ Electro Transit Buddy 11. According to product specifications, the vehicle is 16.4 feet in length, complies with Americans with Disability Act standards and comes at a total cost to the city of $35,045.
According to the city, the shuttle service will be free of charge to visitors and will run on a to-be-determined schedule, with specific drop-off and pick-up points. During Thursday’s meeting, Director of Parks and Recreation Kevin Adams suggested the shuttle operate Friday evenings and all day Saturday to start.
During the discussion, Councilman Matt Murphy inquired about the vehicle’s battery and whether or not city staff should look into other battery options. Vehicle specifications provided with the agenda give a range of 50 miles per charge.
“It sounds like a lot but when you’re shuttling back and forth all day it could be dead by the end of the day and you might need it into the night,” Murphy said.
Councilman Peter Altman added that the battery problem is exacerbated with only one vehicle. “At some point I think we’ll determine it might be optimal when there are events to have a couple (shuttles) going,” he said, suggesting a future fleet of vehicles.
To address the potential battery issue, Altman amended his motion to approve an additional $10,000 to the purchase price as staff looks into solutions. The councilman also requested staff research grant opportunities.