called fire damages shuttles
Several of the Feel Good Rides shuttles were damaged by fire Sun., Sept. 25 where they were parked behind the Empress Motel in Asbury Park.
By ED SALVAS
Bryan Nesci’s chance to sleep late on a Sunday morning was interrupted by a phone call Sept. 25. The Asbury Park Fire Department was calling to tell him that a fire had damaged several of his Feel Good Rides shuttles that were parked behind the Empress Motel on Kingsley Street in Asbury Park.
Nesci arrived at the lot to find three of the Gem Cars were destroyed by the fire about 7:15 a.m. Firefighters put out the fire and prevented it from spreading to seven other shuttles parked in a row. There were no injuries and no other property damage in the blaze.
Asbury Park Fire Chief Kevin Keddy said the cause of the fire is under investigation and it has since been turned over to the Monmouth County Fire Marshall’s office.The fire marshal could not be reached for comment.
The Feel Good Rides officially wrapped up its 12th season of providing free rides in Asbury Park, Bradley Beach, Avon and Belmar on Labor Day, but continued operating in Asbury Park during the two-day Sea Hear Now Festival. Nesci said business was good that weekend.
“We shuttled about 1,000 people those two days,” he said.
The free rides are supported by advertising and the drivers accept tips for rides in the six-passenger vehicles that are similar to golf carts. The shuttles called Gem Cars are electric vehicles powered by Lithium Ion batteries and Nesci believes the fire may have started in the battery of one of the older vehicles in the lot.
The loss of the three shuttles is definitely a costly setback for the business. Nesci said he carried liability Insurance for personal injury but does not have insurance that would cover the replacement of the vehicles that cost $10,000 or more. He said he may create a GoFundMe page and insisted he would recover from the loss, adding “I’ve worked really hard to get to this point.”