DESTIN — Skip the rental car, calling an Uber or sitting in traffic when you want to go out in Destin or Santa Rosa Beach – there’s a new way to get around town with Gulf Coast Go.
The new transportation company advertises a “hop-on-hop-off” style service with 15 trolleys and double-decker buses that make stops along U.S. Highway 98 and Scenic County Road 30A between Destin and Santa Rosa Beach.
“Basically what we are doing is from Grand Boulevard to 30A will be one route and from Grand Boulevard to Destin will be the other route,” said Owner Curtis Spagnola. “My goal is to have buses stop every 30 minutes, and eventually there will be an app and you will be able to track in real time and you will know with each stop when they are coming.”
Spagnola said that the transportation service will give riders access not only to restaurants, attractions, shopping and activities in Destin and Santa Rosa Beach, but will also include a tour guide and the option to book tours such as dolphin cruises, fishing charters, parasailing, brewery tours, wine-tastings and other local attractions.
“We have 46 local partners already, and we are hoping to add more as we grow,” Spagnola said.
When asked what spurred his idea for the company, Spagnola said his years living in Destin and working in tourism-based businesses opened his eyes to the need for alternative transportation options.
“It’s something that we need here desperately, and as a business owner in Destin for many years, I just don’t see why this hasn’t been done earlier,” he said. “The only way we can relieve parking and traffic problems in Destin is by pure numbers. Plus who doesn’t want to ride a double-decker bus?”
Spagnola said that with his fleet operating at full capacity he can carry 1,000 people per hour which translates into 20 cars off the road per hour with just one trolley and 40 cars off the road per hour with one double-decker bus.
To start off, Gulf Coast Go will offer eight stops in Destin and 17 stops in South Walton and Spagnola said more stops to be added in the near future. As for the pricing, Spagnola said he’s offering a deal no one can refuse.
“It’s going to be cheaper that getting a cab or an Uber or anything like that,” he said. “It’s not about making a profit the first year.”
Prices for daily passes are currently $20 for adults and $10 for children aged 3-12 and children 3 and under are free. Local discount for the company’s kick-off prices offers unlimited all-day access for $5 to local residents with a valid ID. There will also be weekly and annual passes available in the near future.
“I’m from Chicago originally, and I see them everywhere,” Spagnola said of buses like his new fleet. “Every big metro city has transportation, and it’s time for Destin to have it.”
Gulf Coast Go is planning for a June grand opening. For more information visit http://gulfcoastgofl.com or call 850-499-7217.