Free Ride! Upper Keys Gets Free Trial for Electric Vehicle Services

GREEN WHEELS

Free Ride! Upper Keys Gets Free Trial for Electric Vehicle Services - A close up of a car - Islamorada
The Freebee electric vehicle will begin transporting people in Upper Matecumbe Key today. It’s part of a six-month trial to gauge interest and popularity. CONTRIBUTED

Beginning Thursday, the Miami-based electric transportation company Freebee will be providing free rides within a section of the Upper Keys.

The ride service is embarking on a six-month trial to see if it’s worth bringing to the area on a permanent basis. Freebee provides the service to the public with environmentally friendly electric vehicles.

The company proposed the on-request transit service for Upper Matecumbe Key with plans and hopes to reduce vehicles on the road. At the same time, the serviceis a “green” alternative to visit local shops and restaurants. All people need to do is download the Freebee app, request a ride and jump onboard.

“We are very excited to be joining the Islamorada community with our launch this,” said John Januscz, economic development manager for Freebee.

The Village Council approved the six-month trial for the Freebee service for Upper Matecumbe Key.

The service is limited to Upper Matecumbe Key for the trial period since vehicles can only go 35 mph and cannot travel across the bridges of the Overseas Highway. The service will be evaluated and expansion, with vehicles that can travel on the highway, will be considered.

“We’ll see what the popularity is among the community and riders who try this service and see how businesses like it,” said Mary Swaney, public information officer.

Freebee will have two vehicles providing transportation on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To request a ride, customers must first download the free Freebee app. On the app, customers request a pickup and can view deals for local businesses.

Freebee has mainly provided its service on the mainland and the Miami area. For more information, visit ridefreebee.com.

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Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family (he's expecting a little boy in October).