Leesburg City Council on Tuesday approved an application by Cartwheels to expand the area of operation of its golf cart-style ride service.
Launched in 2018 by Asa Rusk, the service was launched to transport visitors to downtown restaurants and breweries. As the service grew in popularity, Rusk said it often receives pick-up requests from residents outside of its current service area and customers want to visit properties beyond those boundaries. . While the service is focused on entertainment and hospitality venues, Rusk said some customers request trips to the doctor’s office or other errands.
The council created a special order to allow the golf cart service to operate on public roads within narrow parameters. The original service area covering downtown was expanded in 2019 to provide rides on South King Street to the Virginia Village shopping center and in the Crescent Place neighborhood along Harrison Street.
As part of the new expansion, Cartwheels can reach three more neighborhoods, Exeter, Ida Lee Park and the Leesburg Plaza shopping centre; Virginia Krolls; and Prospect Hills. The carts would only travel on roads with speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less.
Cart wheels is the only permit holder to offer golf cart service in town. It currently operates on weekends with two vehicles. Tuesday’s vote also allows for an extension of up to four carts.
While city staff supported the expansion, the city police department opposed it, citing security concerns.
The council approved the expansion by a 5-1 vote, with Councilor Suzanne Fox opposing it and Councilor Ara Bagdasarian absent.
Fox said that, following council concerns expressed the previous night about allowing commercial scooter rentals downtown, it would also consider the police department’s safety concerns for cart operations.