Distinctive new transit available for Midtown nightlife

Bar hopping in Midtown Memphis is about to get a whole lot easier thanks to a new public transportation service aimed at nightlife revelers.

Premier Transportation Services recently unveiled its Ride the Roo concept, which will connect the popular Cooper Young neighborhood and the invigorated Overton Square district.

For $2 per ride, the 17-passenger minibus will carry customers between the two areas. And it will carry them in distinctive style.

Premier enlisted the services of RedRover Sales & Marketing to develop the Roo brand, which is distinguished by a larger-than-life kangaroo sculpture atop the bus. The martini-sipping marsupial is depicted on the bus wearing sunglasses and a bowtie.

Kern Studios of New Orleans created the kangaroo using papier-mâché, fiberglass and paint. (Think Chick-fil-A cows on billboards, which are also produced by Kern.)

Ride the Roo will have a decidedly local flare, highlighting local bars and restaurants along its route as well as playing exclusively Memphis music on the sound system. Premier is expecting Ride the Roo to have a significant economic and social impact on Midtown, said president Ham Smythe IV.

“Now, visitors to the area can park and easily ‘bounce’ from a restaurant to a theater to a bar, without ever having to move their vehicle,” Smythe said.

Ride the Roo launches with a pilot phase this fall and currently has 12 stops in its rotation; the loop will take 30 minutes to complete. It will operate on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to midnight and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m.

Riders can pay using cash or credit card, and can keep up with the Roo’s location using its mobile-responsive website. Social media will be a component of the experience as well, as the Roo’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages will share information and commentary.
Jane A. Donahoe
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