The Leesburg Town Council on Tuesday approved a request from Cartwheels to expand the operations area for its golf cart-style transportation service.
Launched in 2018 by Asa Rusk, the service was started to shuttle visitors to the restaurants and breweries in the downtown area. As the service has gained popularity, Rusk said he often gets pick-up requests from residents outside his current service zone and has customers wanting to visit establishments beyond those boundaries. While the service is geared to entertainment and hospitality venues, Rusk said some customers ask for trips to the doctor’s office or other errands.
The council created a special ordinance to permit golf cart service to operate on the public streets within narrow parameters. The original service area covering the downtown core was expanded in 2019 to provide rides down South King Street to the Virginia Village shopping center and to the Crescent Place neighborhood along Harrison Street.
Under the new expansion, Cartwheels can reach three more neighborhoods, Exeter, Ida Lee Park and the Leesburg Plaza shopping center area; Virginia Knolls; and Prospect Hills. The carts would only travel on roads with speed limits of 25 miles per hour or lower.
Cartwheels is the only permit holder to provide the golf cart service in town. It currently operates on weekends with two vehicles. Tuesday’s vote also authorizes an expansion of up to four carts.
While the town staff supported the expansion, the town Police Department opposed it, citing safety concerns.
The council approved the expansion on a 5-1 vote, with Councilwoman Suzanne Fox opposed and Councilman Ara Bagdasarian absent.
Fox said that, following the council’s concerns voiced the previous night about allowing commercial scooter rentals in downtown, she would heed the Police Department’s safety concerns for the cart operations as well.