Bluffton man ‘pedals’ new Old Town business venture

A new business is gearing up to pedal into Old Town Bluffton.

Bluffton Bike Taxi, a pedicab service, will give visitors a unique way to get around the historic district.

While pedicabs are a common sight in Savannah and Charleston, “this is the first official bike taxi service for Bluffton,” company owner Trey Snow said Monday.

The company will start with three cabs.

Building the three-wheeled vehicles, which are manufactured in Colorado and hold up to three passengers each, has taken a little longer than expected, but Snow said he plans to have them on the streets by Labor Day.

“It’ll take a little time to get the wheels spinning and get people used to the idea,” he said. “But I’m pretty confident in this being a really cool and successful operation.”

Snow might be onto something.

Tom and Lizzy Armstrong, who were taking in a late lunch Monday afternoon on Promenade Street, said they would be willing to give a bike taxi ride a try.

“It sounds like a pretty great idea to me,” Tom Armstrong said.

Lizzy Armstrong agreed, saying, “I’d definitely do it at least once if it’s not too expensive.”

Snow said he had not determined how much the pedicab rides will cost.

A lift may end up being a bit more pricey than a typical taxi. But customers won’t just be getting a ride from Point A to Point B — they’ll be getting an experience, Snow said.

Bluffton Bike Taxi will provide “transportainment,” with “screened and trained” pedicab operators selected as much for their ability to tell a joke as for the strength of their calf muscles, he said.

“We want (the drivers) to be ambassadors for Bluffton,” Snow said.

In addition to ferrying passengers around town, pedicabs will be able to be chartered for guided tours, private parties and weddings, he said.

The pedicabs may also help make a dent in Old Town’s notorious parking crunch, Snow said.

“You won’t have to worry about parking so close to your destination,” meaning drivers may be more apt to park in areas a bit farther from the popular shopping and dining operations in the center of Old Town, he said.

Because Bluffton Bike Taxi is the first business of its kind in town, Snow said he is “still trying to get some kinks worked out” in terms of business licenses and permits.

Five attempts to reach Town of Bluffton officials were unsuccessful.

Even though his pedicabs would be outfitted with lights and reflectors, Snow’s current permit allows him to operate only until 10 p.m., he said.

“I am going to be working with the town to lobby for later hours,” he said.

Because Snow expects that a good deal of his patrons will be using his service to hop between bars and restaurants later in the evening, “pushing (for the ability to operate) later than 10 (p.m.) will be critical.”

If the company’s roll-out is a success, Snow said he will consider trying to expand operations to nearby areas such as Beaufort and Hilton Head Island.