According to Coco Chanel “the best things in life are free”, and that certainly applies when it comes to getting around Siesta Key. The idea of free transport was embraced over six years ago in a move to reduce congestion on this popular barrier island and now there are several operators offering this eco-friendly service.
Although Siesta Key covers less than four square miles, the narrow crescent-shaped island stretches for eight miles. It puts many visitors quite a distance away from popular restaurants, beaches, and shops. By offering convenient free transport in eco-friendly vehicles, residents and visitors benefit from this simple workable solution to problems of traffic congestion and parking.
Free Siesta Key Trolley
You can leave your parking worries behind when you hop onboard the Siesta Key Breeze trolley! The free trolley offers round trip service from Siesta Key Village to Turtle Beach on the south end of Siesta Key with many stops along the way. Simply board at any SCAT bus stop along Beach Road or flag down the trolley on Midnight Pass Road south of Stickney Point Road. This new free trolley service will run every 20 to 30 minutes from 8 a.m. to midnight from March 2017 through February 2018. The Siesta Key free trolley service includes the busy holiday weekends of Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Additional information about the trolley can be found on the Siesta Key Chamber website or by calling 941.349.3800.
Alternatively, there are several other “free” transport services offered. Tips are appreciated to ensure the project remains viable for operators, who also use the vehicles as mobile advertising to promote local businesses.
Jonny’s Original Free Rides on Siesta Key
Jonny’s Original Free Rides was the first company to offer free transport around Siesta Key with a service that connects Siesta Key Village at the north end of the island to Turtle Beach in the south. Operating daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, Jonny’s electric vehicles are easy to spot with their acid yellow front featuring a smiley face. Owners Jonathan Freed and Brenda Anderton pioneered the idea of a free transportation service on siesta Key in 2010 and the couple
have put a smile on the face of hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals ever since.
Their excellent service provides a fun, safe and eco-friendly trip for riders of all ages who ride in all seasons, whatever the weather. Operating like a taxi service, the pick-up and drop-off service covers all three beaches on Siesta Key along with the island’s most popular restaurants, shops, and attractions.
In addition, Jonny’s offers a delivery service for restaurants and they deliver groceries for Crescent Beach Grocery – all for the price of a tip. They have even been used to shuttle bridal parties to beach weddings and are ideal for enjoying a social gathering or party without having to use a designated driver. However, you need to pre-book ahead to be sure of your personal shuttle service.
Contact Jonny’s Original Free Rides on 941.306.9097.
Siesta Key Free Ride
Siesta Key Free Rides operates a fleet of six-seater electric vehicles which have become a tourist attraction in their own right and are frequently featured on Siesta Key photographs. These purpose-built white golf-cart-like vehicles have bench seats and a rear box for transporting shopping, coolers, and chairs to and from the beach. These green vehicles glide silently along at around 25 mph and have a range of 30 miles before needing to be recharged.
Contact Siesta Key Free Ride on 941.952.TAXI.
Surf Side Free Rides
The catchily-named Surf Side Free Rides operates distinctive Caribbean-style vehicles and offers a similar “ride-for-tips” service throughout Siesta Key. The colorful open-sided vehicles keep riders cool beneath the stripy canvas roof and are hard to miss with their hibiscus decals and tropical paintwork. They’ve also added new enclosed vehicles to their fleet. Just call ahead and enjoy a fun ride with one of the team of friendly local drivers.
Contact Surf Side Free Rides on 941.961.8328.
Sun Ride Pedicab
For a ride with a difference, try Sun ride Pedicab, a pedal-powered rickshaw ride for two. Like the golf carts, Sun ride pedicab will pick you up and transport you to your destination all for the price of a tip.
If you fancy a longer ride, Sun Ride Pedicab also offers one-hour historic tours Monday through Thursday combining Siesta Key landmarks with legends and history. There is a $50 charge for the tour, which covers 3-5 riders, but you can book a “tips-only” pickup and drop-off from your lodging before and after your tour.
Contact Sun Ride Pedicab on 941.343.3400.
Such is the success of the Siesta Key Free Rides Project that the City of Sarasota Community Redevelopment Commission is now funding a two-year pilot project within Sarasota’s Downtown area, starting late 2016. That means less traffic pollution and even more free rides for everyone in the Sarasota area!