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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Patrick Dye, co-founder of GEST Carts, demonstrates his retrofitted golf carts at their depot in Cincinnati. The company offers rides to various points around the city.

Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:00 am

Golf carts going off courses, into cities

Associated Press

CINCINNATI – An entrepreneurial Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and her husband have teed off on a new way of getting around the city's downtown: golf carts.

GEST Carts offers rides on weekend nights to attractions such as riverfront restaurants, a casino and other entertainment spots. Co-founders Patrick and Lauren Dye have rolled out the service slowly, averaging 300 to 500 passengers a night with a fleet of six, and they plan to expand in time for Cincinnati's popular Opening Day festivities in late March when the Reds begin baseball season.

Long associated with retirement communities, golf carts are increasingly being seen as urban transit options.

“I think it would be great anywhere,” Lauren Dye said as her husband drove past Cincinnati's recently renovated Music Hall. “It's just a really fun mode of transportation.”

The service comes as regional leaders have identified improving transportation as a key priority. Cincinnati area officials last month announced a partnership with Uber to create the Cincinnati Mobility Lab. Uber will share transportation data and launch studies of such issues as curbside congestion and bus services in the region.

The Dyes, who operate the Scene Ultra Lounge, launched GEST just before New Year's, just as the city's streetcar system suffered repeated shutdowns because of cold weather and ice. Patrick Dye said the golf carts aren't meant to compete with the streetcar, and they've had good cooperation with city administrators on getting their business running.