A new mode of transportation will not be available for downtown Lake Geneva visitors, at least not this summer.
City aldermen have denied a permit to allow a taxicab company to operate electric golf cart-like vehicles to shuttle tourists and shoppers around the downtown business district.
Cyndy Hansen, owner of Cruzin’ Taxi Transportation, had planned to introduce the Tuk Tuk vehicles this summer, possibly offering downtown visitors rides for free.
Tuk Tuks are small electric-powered carts that travel about 25 mph and can transport up to six people on short-distance trips.
City tourism leaders had cheered the new transportation service, even agreeing to provide $5,000 to promote the Tuk Tuks.
But a competing taxicab company voiced objections to the concept — saying the new electric carts could be unsafe — and aldermen voted down the needed permit on technical issues.
Hansen said she hopes to
Hansen said she plans to try again next summer to introduce Tuk Tuks.
“They’re needed in Lake Geneva,” she said. “The city needs some type of transportation from the parking lots to the downtown.”
City officials said Hansen did not present the city with requested information about her lease on Tuk Tuk vehicles or about her insurance.
Members of the city council finance, licensing and regulation committee meeting on Aug. 6 voted unanimously to deny Hansen a permit. The action does not need city council ratification.
Alderman John Halverson said he was disappointed that Hansen had not provided the city with the requested information.
“They haven’t given us the information we wanted,” Halverson said. “I have a concern about that.”
Hansen said that she recently learned that she had to purchase her own insurance for the vehicles. She said she initially thought she would have insurance from the company leasing the vehicles to her.
Larry Rygielski, owner of Senior Cab & Event Shuttle Services, urged aldermen to vote against the permit, saying that he believes the Tuk Tuks are unsafe because they do not include air bags or over-the-shoulder seat belts.
“I know some of you think they’re cool,” Rygielski said. “I just can’t imagine how they would pass anyone’s inspection.”
Aldermen expressed opposition to the Tuk Tuks because of reports that Hansen had started operating the vehicles without a city permit. Police reported seeing one of the carts downtown on July 14.
“This is kind of strike two, almost strike three,” Alderman Doug Skates said.
Hansen has called the permit incident a misunderstanding.
Alderman Ken Howell said he wanted to give Hansen “the benefit of the doubt” until she failed to provide the lease and insurance information that the city had requested.
“We gave them every opportunity to satisfy the paperwork and the requirements,” Howell said. “We haven’t seen them.”