By VINCE MEEHAN | Downtown News
San Diego is a tourist mecca and as such, features many unique ways to tour our city. One of the latest companies to offer guided treks is BuzzBuggy, which began operating earlier this year. Laura Rovick is owner and operator of BuzzBuggy, which features clean and green electric open-air vehicles that shuttle riders across Downtown as well as the surrounding communities.
Rovick has a leg up on the tourism business due to her experience with a similar company. “I also own Social Cycle – those big party bikes that 16 people sit on and pedal around – and so I was just looking for another unique way to tour and travel around San Diego,” Rovick said, explaining the conception of BuzzBuggy. “I was able to get a [Transportation Charter Permit] license on this, which is kind of like a limo license so you can [bring your own booze], we just ask for no glass for safety reasons. It comes with a professional certified driver we can tour pretty much Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods, so South Park, Golden Hill, North Park, Hillcrest, Bankers Hill, Balboa Park, Little Italy – we’ve gone over to Ocean Beach before, which we can do – and even Point Loma.”
BuzzBuggy features two “Tuk Tuks,” which you can book, as well as four electric golf carts. Tuk Tuks are unique vehicles that are popular in Asia, and look like a cross between a motorcycle and a rickshaw. The Tuk Tuks are head turners as they glide silently through the Downtown urban landscape. Rovick was intrigued by the idea of the Tuk Tuks, and set out to try and bring them to San Diego.
“I actually found out about them from another owner of the bikes I have, who is operating out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I found out about those and was able to get in touch with the manufacturer,” Rovick said. “They are built in Thailand and then finished off in Denver to make them [Department of Transportation] compliant to be on the road. So I went out to Denver and did a site visit, drove them around. And nobody was doing them here in Southern California so I figured I’d jump on the opportunity right now before somebody else does.”
The Tuk Tuks carry six passengers as well as a driver, and the golf carts are set up for five passengers and one driver. The vehicles are equipped with Bluetooth so passengers can play their own music set list while sipping on wine or beer. “We’ve got 75 different partnerships with bars and restaurants around the city, so if they opt to stop off at any of those places, we put wristbands on them and they get discounts on food and drinks,” added Rovick
Depending on the success of BuzzBuggy, Rovick may plan to expand to other SoCal locales. “Right now, I’ve been getting this off the ground. With our bike company Social Cycle, we have locations in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara, so once I get this kinda going and get at least a year under our belt, then I might look at bringing these to those other markets where we’ve got the bikes and you know… always be on the look out for unique opportunities.”
As Rovick points out, BuzzBuggy is a hit with everybody from tourists to corporate teams and wedding parties. “Every group we get is unique and different from birthdays, bachelors, bachelorettes, anniversaries and families that want to do some sight seeing and check out some cool murals – Instagram stuff – stop off at museums, bar hopping, you name it!”
To book your BuzzBuggy tour, go to BuzzBuggy.com.
— Vince Meehan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.