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Free taxi service runs late, satisfies students

Omarie Williams swoops on Ocean Drive on February 2. Williams has been swooping on South Beach for 5 months. Swoop is a company that gives free rides to customers all around the South Beach area. The golf carts are electric and eco-friendly, can only go up to 25 mph, and runs for 6 hours before needing a charge. "We're like the new celebrities on South Beach," Williams said. Adrianne D'Angelo // The Miami Hurricane

Omarie Williams swoops on Ocean Drive on February 2. Williams has been swooping on South Beach for 5 months. Swoop is a company that gives free rides to customers all around the South Beach area. The golf carts are electric and eco-friendly, can only go up to 25 mph, and runs for 6 hours before needing a charge. “We’re like the new celebrities on South Beach,” Williams said.

Over and over again, Miami residents face frustrations with the city’s lack of public transportation system. For many students, this translates into taking expensive cabs, paying for overpriced parking and walking long distances whenever they go out. But now, thanks to Swoop Miami, South Beach has a free alternative.

Swoop is a free taxi service that services from 24th street down to 1st street. The company boasts fully electric, open-air golf carts, which means that by swooping you are not only saving money, but also being eco-friendly.

Founder Alexander Smith said that Swoop Miami was the result of his dissatisfaction with transportation and parking on Miami Beach. Currently, Swoop has two fully-functioning vehicles picking up customers in the South Beach area. According to Smith, however, Swoop is in the process of some major changes including more vehicles, an extension of hours, a website revamp and expansion to Hollywood and its beaches.

Swoop is just a step in providing more convenient transportation in Miami similar to some services provided by other universities. At the University of Florida, a program called Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP) provides free rides to students anywhere on campus. SNAP is run by students and monitored by the university police. It was first implemented in 1976. UM offers no similar program.

“It’s convenient and safer than walking by yourself at night, especially if you have to walk in really unpopulated parts of campus,” said Rebecca Hutchinson, a senior at UF. “A lot of people take SNAP from midtown, where they were drinking, to sorority row.”

Swoop Miami is funded by advertisements displayed outside and inside of the taxis. The golf-cart-looking vehicles start running at 1 p.m. and do not stop until at least 2 a.m., although they often give rides as late as 5 a.m.

Want to catch a ride? Just give Swoop a call and they will come pick you up. Be forewarned though- if you call between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., you may be waiting 15 to 30 minutes. See Swoop driving by? Call out “Swoop Swoop!” and they will pull up curbside to give you a lift. Be sure to tip the driver.

NEED A RIDE?

305-409-6636

For more information visit swoopmiami.com

Margaux Herrera may be contacted at mherrera@themiamihurricane.com.

Staff writer Laura Edwins contributed to this report.

May 29, 2011

Reporters

Margaux Herrera

EDGE Editor


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