Judge prohibits shuttle service to operation in city of Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Judge rules shuttle service illegal in city

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

A Savannah shuttle service business has come to a stop, perhaps for good. A Chatham County judge ruled Monday that Savannah Hoppers must cease and desist running their motorized carts.

To be clear, Savannah Hoppers will continue renting their low speed vehicles or electric cars, which are legal, for at least another month, but after that, Charlie Brewer, the owner, says he may pull out of Savannah after this whole ordeal.

Judge Tammy Stokes was to the point in her ruling, "I do find in favor with the city on this matter." but quickly added that the city and defense presented excellent cases, but in the end she had to render Savannah Hoppers' shuttle service illegal in Savannah.

In response, Brewer said he respected the judge's decision; however, "We're not very satisfied with the ruling at all."

Brewer and his wife followed the city's rules to the *t*, and they operate the same shuttle service in a different city with no problems.

"We're having a great time at Tybee, business is fine down there." Said Brewer.  "We run those carts. The judge said they're unsafe, I find it contradictory that they're safe on Tybee but unsafe in Savannah."

The city of Savannah is working on a motorized cart ordinance after holding two public forums last November. Tybee Island had to pass their own ordinance there allowing golf carts on streets with a stipulation of staying off of US 80 for safety

Bridget Lidy with Tourism Management for the city of Savannah said, "Some folks were in favor of it, and others were not, and we're in the process of evaluating those comments."

The city says it's all about safety, nothing personal.

"The Brewers are good people, and wonderful business people and it's always difficult to go head to head with individuals in the courts, but the court ruled today in favor of the city of Savannah and that's the most important thing in our perspective is protecting the health and welfare of our citizens and visitors that come here."

But the Brewers say the shuttles were their big moneymakers and in a month they may have to pull out of Savannah altogether.

"We're looking at Florida; we're looking at Tennessee. We've got a very nice franchise approach and we're looking into moving to other locations that do have an ordinance or business friendly."

The Brewers said they're talking with their attorney about a possible lawsuit over lost revenue.

And on a slightly positive note, which made the couple happy, the judge turned their ticket they received on Christmas Eve into a warning. 

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