Gest Carts, a free, on-demand transportation service using electric golf carts in Detroit, will debut on Thursday, April 1, to coincide with the Tigers’ Opening Day at Comerica Park.
The service will offer rides in and around downtown, Corktown, Midtown, Eastern Market, and East Jefferson (Chene Park). The cost of the rides is covered by advertisers.
Gest stands for Green Easy Safe Transportation. It first launched in Cincinnati in 2018 and also has operations in Chicago. Plans are in the works to expand to Charlotte and Atlanta.
Husband-and-wife team Damon and Kaia Dickens are Detroiters and licensees of the Detroit Gest service. They have professional backgrounds in finance and entrepreneurship and were raised in the city. Sponsors advertise through a backlit LED roof rack or custom vinyl wrapping on the exterior of the carts with a monthly rental fee.
“Even with all of the growth in entertainment options in the city, the option to get around for free just didn’t exist,” Damon Dickens says. “We wanted to solve that problem while at the same time giving small and large business sponsors a way to have their brand more visible. Through Gest Carts, we are turning our dream into a reality.”
At the start of the launch, two carts will be introduced in Detroit with plans to expand the fleet and hire drivers. The carts have heaters and weather-proof exterior covers. They also have stereo systems and Bluetooth connections so riders can play their own music.
Each cart can carry five to seven passengers. They will be running from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Opening Day. After that, regular hours will be 5 p.m. through 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. There are plans to expand the hours of operation.
Passengers can call a Gest Cart through a mobile app that tracks the drivers’ locations and estimated arrival times. The carts drive 25 miles per hour and will circumnavigate the most entertainment-focused areas of the city, with east-west boundaries between Chene Park and Michigan Central in Corktown and north-south boundaries between E. Warren and E. Jefferson.
Gest Carts will follow COVID-19 safety protocols. More information on Gest is available here.