The Coastal Star

Boca Raton: City to aid shared-ride firms to help downtown transit

By Mary Hladky

Shared-ride businesses operating downtown soon will have six locations where they can park until passengers contact them to be picked up.

The waiting areas also will give the shared-ride vehicles greater visibility. 

Three of the waiting areas will be located at the main destinations of people using the services — Mizner Park, Royal Palm Place and the beach.

Waiting areas also will be at City Hall and at a nearby building that houses city departments. The Wildflower park was added to the list at the March 26 CRA meeting.

Companies offering shared-ride services in the city told city staff they wanted well-lit waiting areas available around the clock and marked with signage, Downtown Manager Ruby Childers told council members.

Three shared-ride companies started operating in the city since last spring. Round the Town offers free rides in six-seat electric shuttles, with customers calling or texting for a ride. Boca Bike Tours is a free pedicab service riders can hail or call for a pickup. Slidr provides free, on-demand service in electric vehicles via an app and phone.

The companies opened shop in Boca Raton after the Downtowner left at the end of 2016. 

City Council members encouraged private companies to offer service in the city with the aim of lessening downtown traffic congestion.

The waiting areas will be along northbound Plaza Real south of Northeast Fifth Street in Mizner Park, on East Palmetto Park Road just west of A1A near South Beach Park, along Southeast First Avenue in Royal Palm Place, in the parking lot behind City Hall, in the parking lot of the city-owned building on Northwest Second Street north of City Hall on weekends only, and the Wildflower park at 551 E. Palmetto Park Road. 

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