FORT WORTH -- Last year, Robin Glaysher found herself laid off from her job in corporate marketing, unsure of her next step.
"I started thinking about things that I actually love to do," Glaysher said. "I love cycling ... I love my neighborhood."
That reassessment led Glaysher to months of research and planning, culminating this week in the launch of a business already drawing interest around Fort Worth's rapidly revitalizing near south side.
After working through regulatory hurdles and zoning issues at City Hall, Glaysher says she's ready to kick-start Fairmount Bike Taxi, a pedicab service focusing on serving downtown and south-side neighborhoods including Fairmount and Ryan Place.
Pedicabs -- three-wheeled, human-powered vehicles -- have been operating in Fort Worth since at least 2005, mostly around downtown.
The growth of businesses in the near south side, most notably along Magnolia Avenue, gave Glaysher the sense that pedicabs could work in a larger portion of the city.
When Glaysher first began planning her business, she learned that only downtown and the Stockyards were zoned for nonmotorized vehicles. In May, city officials agreed to allow the pedicabs on the south side, according to Gerald Taylor with the Ground Transportation Office.
The pedicabs will have to avoid major streets like Rosedale and Eighth avenues, Taylor said.
Glaysher plans to be her business's first pedicab driver, along with another cyclist. She's heard from others interested in joining her enterprise.
Drivers will operate as independent contractors while renting their pedicab from Glaysher's company, she said. She also plans to sell space on the pedicabs to local advertisers.
Fairmount Bike Taxi will officially debut Friday at First Friday on the Green, a monthly concert series at Magnolia Green Park.
Glaysher said she plans to have her pedicab drivers work for tips during special events and when operating downtown. Otherwise, she expects passengers will be charged flat fees such as $5 for one person to be transported down Magnolia Avenue.
She hopes the business will eventually gain popularity among out-of-towners staying downtown while attending events at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
"We'll be able to tell them about places they normally wouldn't know beyond Sundance Square," Glaysher said.
Online: Fairmount Bike Taxi, www.fairmountbiketaxi.com
Aman Batheja, 817-390-7695