A Free Ride to Palm Beach? Not So Fast

Helen Ficalora car in Palm Beach, courtesy Hamptons Free Ride
Helen Ficalora car in Palm Beach, courtesy Hamptons Free Ride

If Life is a Highway, Hamptons Free Ride isn’t allowed on it.

Though a caption under an article that recently appeared in another paper read “Free Ride has expanded its shuttle service to Palm Beach,” Hamptons Free Ride is not offering free rides from the Hamptons to Florida.

“We’d get a lot of horns blown at us at 25 mph,” said Alex Esposito, a co-founder of Hamptons Free Ride, when asked about the service. The eco-friendly electric cars can get to a max speed of about 28 mph, and they’re limited to roads with speed limits of under
35 mph.

Life is more like a slow back road, but Hampton Free Ride seems to be having plenty of success on it. The service operates loops between village and beach in East Hampton, Amagansett, Montauk and—new for summer 2013—Southampton on the East End. Hamptons Free Ride recently partnered with SpotRides, which serviced the Southampton area with similar open-air rides to the beach last summer, to expand their reach west.

And then they went south. After a winter of providing an inaugural Free Ride service in Palm Beach, they’ll return to the East End to begin the four independent loops over Memorial Day weekend.

However, when broached with the idea of heading to Palm Beach, Esposito conceded that it would probably bring in a lot of advertising dollars. Hamptons Free Ride is advertiser-supported, with each of the cars sporting various brand names in the form of full vehicle wraps, video commercials or sponsored giveaways. As the name implies, passengers ride for free.

“We’d love for it to work out,” said Esposito of the idea of driving to the Sunshine State.

Careful research into the topic revealed that, barring any form of precipitation or a need for excessive luggage space, it could be possible to take the open-air Free Ride fleet down to Palm Beach, leaving after the Hamptons high season and making it to Florida in time for an anticipated November 2013 start. Free Ride held an inaugural soft launch in Palm Beach this past February to great success, and they’ll continue operating down there until April.

For the purpose of further investigating the pipe dream of taking Free Ride to Palm Beach, let’s assume that the “walking” option on Google Maps would procure roads that Free Ride would be able to take—Google wouldn’t let someone walk on the side of a speedy highway, right? It would take 443 hours to walk the 1,351 miles on what seems to be mostly back roads.

So, we’re talking 18 days and 11 hours to walk from East Hampton to Palm Beach. That’s probably a fair estimation for how long Free Ride would take, considering it would be faster to ride than to walk, but the vehicles would have to recharge about every 40 miles. Think of all the roadside attractions the lucky five passengers could take in!

“We’re unfortunately not offering rides to Palm Beach,” Esposito clarified. “Just rides once you get down there.” (Please note that Dan’s Papers does not recommend walking to Florida.)

Ironically, this is not the first time that Free Ride has received a call about a long distance trip. “When we first started, someone wrote a  Business Insider article titled ‘How To Get to the Hamptons for Free This Summer,’” says Esposito. “We got a ton of people calling us, asking if we used the same stops as the Jitney, or if they could make a reservation from the Upper East Side to East Hampton.”


What’s your favorite Free Ride loop? Tells us on DansHamptons.com.

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