PORT TOWNSEND — Public transportation options in Port Townsend are more diverse these days with the addition of a bicycle taxi that cruises the downtown area, one end to the other.
“I run a route between Point Hudson and the Visitor’s Center, from 8 a.m. to sundown most days,” said Geoff Gardner, “pedal master” for the PT Pedal Taxi.
“I pick people up as they flag me down, and take them where they want to go along the route.”
But while Port Townsend bicyclists are always dealing with hills, Gardner’s route is pretty flat.
If he goes uptown, he’ll ride there without a passenger and then stay for a few hours, taking people back and forth.
The Pedal Taxi charge averages about $5 per run, Gardner said.
He also offers delivery service, charging from $5 to $10 depending on the job, ghost tours — 90-minute walking tours of places that could have ghosts, which cost $10 per person — and a variety of other tours that range from $35 to $190.
Gardner, 43, lived the corporate life for several years.
He began as a door-to-door vacuum- cleaner salesman and worked his way into training salespeople in the recreational vehicle industry.
He moved to Port Townsend from Michigan because he had family in the area “and I wanted to try something new.”
Gardner bought a bike from a local resident who had the idea for a pedal taxi “but only lasted a few days before he gave up.”
Gardner spiffed up the bike, put together a uniform and filled the bike’s back rack with maps and tourist brochures.
“I don’t just give people a ride,” he said.
“If a tourist comes off of the ferry and doesn’t know where to stay or where to eat, I can make some suggestions and guide them to the locations that best suit them.”
Gardner has been in business only for about three weeks but already has noticed a difference in how he’s perceived.
While seeing a pedal taxi seemed to be a shock for many at first, people now are getting used to it, he said, and are using it to get around, although at a leisurely pace.
“If you need to get somewhere in a hurry, I’m not where you would go,” he said.
“But if someone wants to know about the flavor of the town, it’ll be me that they come to see.”
Gardner said he’s becoming something of a tourist attraction himself.
“My picture has been taken more times than I can count,” he said.
He also is in better shape, having lost 12 pounds, thinned his waist and thickened his legs.
He said he rides his bike for fun on local trails.
To generate interest in the service, Gardner is holding a “name the bike” contest, with the winner treated to a dockside, catered dinner from Khu Larb Thai.
For more information or to book a ride go to www.ptafterdark.com or call 360-991-7480 or 360-797-5278.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]