Sunshine Shuttle partners with Sandestin to provide tram service

Published: Monday, May 27, 2013 at 05:32 PM.

After three years of negotiations, the various entities that oversee Sandestin, including property owners the Becnel family, the Hilton Sandestin, individual management companies and the Sandestin Owners Association, have signed a three-year contract with Sunshine Shuttle to provide free tram service for people who stay at the resort.

“The whole idea behind this is bringing in a green element where people don’t have to necessarily drive here anymore. They don’t have to rent cars,” said John Finch, owner of Sunshine Shuttle.

Sunshine Shuttle will pick up visitors at the airport, and there are several tram routes throughout Sandestin that can reach any destination there within 30 minutes of pickup.

The tram service was tested in March during spring break and officially launched at the beginning of April. During the peak summer season, Sunshine Shuttle will offer eight trams throughout the day.

“The environmental impact it has on the community has been received in a very positive way, and it helps with the traffic congestion,” Finch said. “One tram holds 25 people. That could be up to 25 cars off the road. You have six or eight of them going, and all visitors will immediately see the positive impact.”

Sunshine Shuttle has also launched a new mobile site that allows users to pull up the tram routes and their actual location in real time to plan their outings.

Sunshine Shuttle launched about eight years go with a fleet of two vehicles. Finch saw a need for shuttle service while vacationing in the area and being stranded twice on Walton County Road 30A when vehicles that were supposed to pick him up were no-shows.

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