Bluffton’s newest partnership is free, friendly and faster than walking.
The Bluffton Bike Taxi, owned by native son Trey Snow, will take residents and visitors to The Promenade, to the shops and restaurants in Old Town, and on a leisurely ride past historic sites.
“Bluffton’s always had a legacy of supporting the small private business owners,” said Snow, “and I thought it might create a unique way for people to experience what the cultural district had to offer.”
The historic district transportation partnership is part of Bluffton’s efforts to support tourism.
“The town, through hospitality tax funds, is excited to partner with Bluffton Bike Taxi to offer more accessibility to the restaurants, stores and businesses in the Historic District,” Town Manager Marc Orlando said in a recent press release.
The taxis (there are currently three in the fleet) operate from 5 to 9 p.m. four nights a week – Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday – from taxi stands at both the Wright Family Park on Calhoun Street and the Martin Family Park on Boundary.
The convenience of parking at those two sites at peak dinner hours makes it even easier to dine out or enjoy a leisurely ride through the historic district. The taxi will also drop off and pick up anywhere in that area.
“I thought it could blend in with everything – from our historic structures that have been preserved to mixing with the dinner scene and social nightlife,” Snow said.
Part-time driver Mike Lemire said he and his colleagues take a local history course at the Heyward House – complete with a quiz – so that they can give visitors some insight into the town’s history.
When vacationing on Key West, Lemire and his wife used bike taxis all the time and used to joke that when he retired, he was going to own one. When he saw Snow’s ad on social media, he jumped at the opportunity to be part of it.
“We can offer riders anything from delivery at one of the shops or restaurants to a full tour,” Lemire said. “Wherever they want me to go, I take them.”
Along the route, he shares some details, such as the story of honey bees that are firmly ensconced in the roof of Church of the Cross (the church harvests and sells Holy Honey). Or the one about the brothers who had to build a brick wall through the middle of Seven Oaks, the house they shared, because their wives hated each other. Or the fact that the South Carolina flag hanging in front of the Heyward House has no palmetto tree.
“We’re far from experts but we get a good dose of that from the experts,” Snow said.
If the bike taxi isn’t at the stand, call 843-707-6807 or email Trey@BlufftonBikeTaxi.com. Be patient – the driver will be on the way. More information is at blufftonbiketaxi.org.
“It’s faster than walking around, but it allows us to cover more ground touring with visitors rather than their taking up the whole day walking the same route,” said Snow. “We’re not too fast and just slow enough to really absorb things. We want to be good ambassadors for what we have here.”
Gwyneth J. Saunders is a veteran journalist and freelance writer living in Bluffton.