Point to Point
Pristine beaches, world-class dining and shopping, and year-round activities to be enjoyed outdoors are all the major draws of Newport Beach. But who wants to worry about finding a parking spot once they arrive? A shuttle company called The Downtowner has found a way to resolve the issue of parking in Newport Beach for residents and visitors, and local Realtor Bob Irish was one of the first to climb aboard the concept.
In the fall, his business, Newport Realty, joined Ruby’s Diner and the University of California, Irvine, in leasing one of The Downtowner’s six-seater GEM cars to shuttle customers around the Newport peninsula and harbor, FREE of charge. In exchange, his vehicle is adorned with advertising for the business. For commuters, it’s a free Uber of sorts. Bob’s car even has a map on the ceiling of all of his favorite spots in Newport Beach.
GEM cars — picture a stretch golf cart with bucket seat and belts — can only go at about 35 miles per hour, which limits them to small streets and boulevards. “It’s perfect for getting from point to point around Newport … I hope to start another one on Balboa Island,” Bob adds.
Here’s how it works:
1. Download the free app (Downtowner) on your smartphone.
2. Type in your pick-up and drop-off locations. The GPS-based app will tell you when your car will arrive.
3. The Downtowner’s point-to-point service will pick you up at that location and shuttle you to your destination — perhaps with a couple of other pickups along the way.
Bob’s Newport Beach Downtowner runs year-round, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Holidays included. So save the gas, spare yourself the headache of finding parking and take a ride!