Daybreak's eco-friendly transit service looking for new owner
Mar 30, 2020 01:24PM
By Libby Allnatt
South Jordan resident Julie Holbrook is the owner of KartsUT, a Daybreak transportation service made up of low-speed electric vehicles. (Libby Allnatt/City Journals)
Ride-sharing and public transportation are go-to transit options for those looking to get around car-less or reduce their carbon footprint.
Daybreak residents have an additional, environmentally friendly transportation option right in their own neighborhood: KartsUT. And the business is looking for a new owner.
Julie Holbrook has lived in South Jordan for more than 12 years. She launchedKartsUT last summer as an entirely privately funded business, which it still is today.
“Our streets are really narrow in Daybreak,” she said. “I found for myself, a lot of my trips were to The District and around Daybreak and not very far. I thought, why not have electric vehicles that can get in these narrow roads and take people around when they need to go there? Then I started doing the research and I found these vehicles.”
The wheels of KartsUT are one four-passenger vehicle and one six-passenger vehicle. The vehicles can legally drive on roads that are up to 35 miles per hour, and they last about 50 miles per charge, depending on variables such as the slope of a road. The compact white vehicles resemble sleek golf carts, with a bit more protection from the elements. Holbrook said that KartsUT has a couple relief drivers, but she typically does the drives herself.
Holbrook is passionate about the service and its mission, but with an upcoming move out of state, she plans to place it in a new owner’s hands. She said she’s looking to sell either the business as a whole or the vehicles on their own.
“I would like to see this stay in Daybreak and be owned by someone living in Daybreak because that’s what sets us apart,” she said. “It’s your neighbors that are driving you. It’s not somebody you don’t know.”
Since KartsUT has been in operation, Holbrook said that single rides (which cost $5) have been a popular type of ride, but the service also offers subscription packages. Riders can book a ride online, and there is also potential for an app. She said the type of rider varies.
“It’s kind of all over,” she said. “I’ve taken a couple of elderly people. They say ‘this is so great, I can stay in my home longer,’ and they don’t have to depend on neighbors or friends. They can come and go as they want. One gal wanted to do several errands and I said, ‘let’s just run it by the hour.’ So you can do that too. One gentleman said, ‘I drive all the time and I would like to just take a ride around Daybreak and look with my family and stop at parks and things.’ The people have come up with more ideas than I have!”
Holbrook has also driven young people to their jobs in The District, dropped riders off at Trax, and taken residents to and from events on SoDa Row.
“First I wanted to test the concept,” she said. “Is this gonna work at all? And it does, and it’s really handy. But you have to be out there and visible.”
In addition to doing effective marketing, Holbrook said her advice to the new owner would be that when it comes down to it, just be helpful.
“What’s most important is to just be there for the people,” she said.
Holbrook emphasizes the environmental impacts of riding electric.
“Electric cars for individuals are a personal choice, but I thought this could shuttle people around if all you’re gonna do is go around Daybreak and the District,” she said. “Every little bit you can do to not pollute, not use your own vehicle, let’s do it.”
As for a new owner, Holbrook has already heard from several interested parties. She said that she’s learned the business takes more than one person, from marketing to driving to bookkeeping, tasks that aren’t hard in and of themselves, but time-consuming.
“I just hope that whoever takes this over, they keep it as a business,” she said. “But if not, then people will have vehicles that are a heck of a lot of fun.”