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.
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:
- Beach Bug | Pacific Beach
- FRANC (Free Ride Around National City) | National City
- Carlsbad Good Ride | Carlsbad
There is also the Chula Vista Community Shuttle that offers free rides to locals aged 55+ in northwest Chula Vista.
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.