Neighborhood electric vehicle expected to serve North Park and City Heights in 2024

This will make the area the seventh neighborhood in San Diego County to adopt a zero-emission shuttle service.

Free Rides Around National City

FRANC is taking a trip through National City.

Photo via @SANDAG

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North Park and City Heights are buzzing for an upcoming mobility project. The communities are planning to get their own neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) service, aimed at making it easier for locals to get around.

The program is the result of a $1.5 million grant awarded by the state for clean-air transportation initiatives. Details are still in the works but community organizations are hoping the service is up and running by mid-2024.

Carlsbads Good Ride Car

This is a good way to ride around Carlsbad.

Image via Visit Carlsbad

Watts the scoop?

If this initiative sounds familiar, it’s because other San Diego County communities already have similar NEV programs in motion. In 2016, Free Ride Everywhere Downtown — aka FRED — launched in downtown San Diego.

Many riders have adopted the service. According to pre-pandemic stats from 2019, FRED served 250,000+ riders annually. In 2022, the gO’side Shuttle began running in Oceanside, and three other services debuted in 2023:

There is also the Chula Vista Community Shuttle that offers free rides to locals aged 55+ in northwest Chula Vista.

The Beach Bug parked in PB

The Beach Bug cruising the streets of PB.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

The full charge

Ready to ride? Travelers can access these zero-emission, low-speed vehicles using the Circuit app. Generally, they have limited service areas, but operate in popular locations. They aim to reduce traffic congestion and make it easier to get to destinations that have limited public transit options.

Funding sources for NEVs are different in each neighborhood, meaning hours of operation can vary. In some communities, NEVs are free. In others, there’s a fee to ride. It’s unclear if the new shuttle in North Park and City Heights will require a fare.

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