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Business owners aim to launch new transportation service

The Connector to provide rides from downtown to beaches

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new transportation option could soon be coming to Jacksonville. It's called "The Connector," and it's a service that will help people get from the beaches to downtown Jacksonville and back for a low price.

Grant Nielson and Trey Hebron want to make traveling across Jacksonville a no-brainer. For $5 one way and $8 round trip, Nielson and Hebron's buses would take people one-way from downtown Jacksonville to the beaches. All they need to get the idea going is the community to back them up.

With a new online campaign, "The Connector" is trying to turn transportation troubles into fun. "The Connector" would shuttle people from the beaches to downtown from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. and arrive every 30 minutes on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Hebron, with "1904 Music Hall," is the brains behind the idea. Hebron told Channel 4 that he hears customers complain about the hassle getting to and from both sides of town.

"It seemed like we had a lot of people from the beach who wanted to come but because they were so far away. Obviously people want to have a few beers when they come down here, it didn't seem like a feasible option," said Hebron.

Nielson manages downtown Jacksonville's new nightlife district "The Elbow," and he said "The Connector" is a service that is long overdue.

"Downtown is growing like crazy right now, very rapidly," said Nielson. "The beach is already very well established and they tend to have their own insular demographic. We're trying to break down that wall a little bit and say, ‘hey, there's great stuff on both sides of town.'"

The crowd funding campaign for "The Connector" officially launches November 1. The group needs to drive in about $100,000 by November 30 to start the service. 

"We're looking forward to stopping DUI's and potentially saving lives, but even above that, it's a very eco-friendly, green way of transporting people. We've seen successes in other parts of the country using a similar model, so we're optimistic it's going to work out well here," said Nielson.

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