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Meet FRED: The free San Diego downtown ridesharing service

A fleet of electric cars will take passengers, for free, throughout downtown San Diego
Photo credit:
thefreeride.com

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Civic San Diego and the Downtown San Diego Partnership, launched the “Free Ride Everywhere Downtown (FRED)” this morning.

The free ridesharing service is the first of its size to serve a major metropolitan city and resembles that of a Lyft or Uber app. It's already being used in The Hamptons, South Florida, parts of Los Angeles and The Jersey Shore. 

Mayor Faulconer said in a press release that people fail to visit downtown San Diego because finding parking can be a challenge, but hopes this new free taxi service will help ease those criticisms. .

We heard those concerns,” the mayor said, “and are proud to introduce this all-electric, sustainable transportation solution that let residents and visitors park anywhere downtown and still easily get to the great restaurants, shops and attractions Downtown has to offer.”

The initial fleet of 15, five passenger electric vehicles were funded by Downtown parking meter funds. They hope to increase the number of shuttles by five in the coming months.

Riders will be able to request a car, driven by a professional driver, using the downloadable app available to either Apple or Android users. 

The program uses $500,000 taken from downtown parking meter revenues, but hopes private sponshorship will eventually take over the costs in a few years, phasing out the need for public funding. 

FRED service extends from the north at  W. Laurel and India Streets down to the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal,  servicing N. Harbor Drive down to E. Harbor Drive just beyond Beardsley Street. 

“We are excited to bring this new free transportation option to the mix of available ways to navigate Downtown,” said Kris Michell, president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. “Downtown is already a dynamic environment for businesses and residents alike. This new service will only add to the quality of life that makes our urban center a dynamic place to live, work and play.”

The service will run seven days a week:

  • 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday
  • 7 a.m. to midnight, Friday
  • 8 a.m. to midnight, Saturday
  • 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday

To learn more about FRED and download the app, click HERE.