NEWPORT, Ky. — Low-speed vehicle rides that are free to the public are coming to Newport.
GEST — which is short for Green Easy Safe Transportation — is now operating in Newport. The Cincinnati-based ride-hailing service formally launched its service during a press conference held Wednesday at Newport on the Levee.
“As Newport continues to emerge as a major local and regional entertainment destination, the city is focused on enhancing the visitor experience,” said Newport City Manager Tom Fromme. “The vehicles and services offered by GEST will provide visitors and residents alike with easy access to the growing number of entertainment venues, restaurants, night spots, businesses, services and more. It’s another recognition that Newport is a great place to visit, live, work and play.”
GEST is able to offer free rides because they make revenue through advertising. Passengers can also tip their drivers.
Riders can either call for a ride at 513-421-4378 or hail GEST vehicles as they travel through the city.
“We are thrilled to bring GEST to Newport,” said Patrick Dye of Cincinnati, who founded and operates GEST with his wife, Lauren. “The city has been amazing to work with. Officials and businesses have been very inviting and have made clear they want us in Newport, so we are happy to be here.”
GEST rides are available not just at night, but also during the late morning into early afternoon for the lunch crowd or for workers and residents to run errands and visit local businesses. GEST is also available to rent for private events.
GEST is partnering with Newport on the Levee, the multi-level retail entertainment center located across from downtown Cincinnati on the south bank of the Ohio River in Newport.
“Newport on the Levee is proud to partner with GEST to offer free shuttle rides to our customers,” said Barney Estes, general manager of Newport on the Levee. “As regional destination, GEST provides a seamless opportunity for our guests to stay connected to our neighboring communities and entertainment partners.”
GEST’s major sponsors are ProLink Staffing, JACK Casino and Fifth Third Bank.
“ProLink is proud to partner with such an innovative group like GEST,” said Elizabeth Leugers, ProLink staffing marketing manager. “They’ve identified a new and exciting way to connect with people who love and support our city’s downtown revival, which is an important element of ProLink’s communications strategy. Now that GEST is expanding into the Northern Kentucky area, we grow right along with them.”
GEST will enhance the visitor experience in Northern Kentucky’s river cities, said Jack Moreland, president of Southbank Partners, which promotes community and economic development in Newport, Dayton, Bellevue, Covington, Ludlow and Fort Thomas.
“We welcome GEST with open arms,” Moreland said. “Their service will make it even easier and more convenient for visitors, workers and residents to travel to restaurants, bars, entertainment destinations, shopping, workplaces and more. Southbank was an earlier supporter of GEST and we are thrilled that they here in Newport.”
GEST will also help boost tourism by improving wayfinding and accessibility for individuals, tour groups and visitors attending events and conventions at The Northern Kentucky Convention Center and the hotels and attractions in Newport and Covington, said Eric Summe, president and CEO of meetNKY | Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“We have already used GEST for a faith-based group that is thinking about bringing an event,” Summe said. “And it went great. We were able to work with GEST and really show off what our area has to offer. I have been very impressed with the entire GEST team. Their vehicles will provide easy accessibility for site inspections, conventions, hotels and general transportation needs. It’s another innovative and exciting amenity and service that we now have to offer in Newport and Northern Kentucky.”
GEST will operate Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m; Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m and 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Saturday 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
For more information about GEST, visit www.gestcarts.com.