By on September 2, 2015

 

BlueIndy, the nation’s first electric car sharing service, launched in Indianapolis on Wednesday, according to Time, but with controversy.

The car service, which uses Bollore Group electric cars, has met initial opposition with the Indianapolis City Council, who’ve taken aim at the mayor who launched the project with Bollore — whose other EV car-sharing cities include Paris and London.

The cars shouldn’t be parked in downtown spots, council members say.

“The mayor needs to understand that even though this is one of his pet projects, he is not above the law,” City council member Zach Adamson, told WXIN. 

The program is drawing fire from local residents as well.

The city’s buses are among the worst in the nation, according to StreetsBlog.org, and residents say the $6 million from city coffers for the service could be better spent on better public transportation. The lack of public transportation is reason alone for the service, BlueIndy General Manager Scott Prince told the Indianapolis Business Journal:

“We think it’s the perfect city to do this,” he said. “If we had the world’s greatest mass transit system today, this arguably would not be the first city we’d be launching in in America.”

Nonetheless, neighbors say the dedicated city parking spots and charging stations for the cars are an eyesore:

“I live in a historic neighborhood, and I’ve got a rental car business in front of my house,” Chas Navarra told the Indianapolis Star. “What’s the difference between having this and Hertz or Avis parked out there? How is this going to be good for my (property) valuation?”

A safety hazard:

“When it smacks you on the forehead like that, it’s really something,” Navarra said. “Do we even know if these chargers are safe or if children should be playing around them?”

Unnecessary:

“I drive my car to work Downtown,” Sean McCarthy told the Indianapolis Star. “It’s only three miles, but we have a parking garage, and traffic isn’t bad at all.

“I just don’t think Indianapolis is at that point where we have to find all kinds of other ways to get to work. It might make sense in a larger city but not here, yet.”

And a “leap of faith”:

“It’s quite alien,” Michael Thwaite, who is president of Plug-In America, told the Indianapolis Business Journal. The car “requires someone to take a leap of faith that the thing will work and it will meet their needs. It has to be better than the alternatives.”

The service will eventually have 500 cars available, according to its website. The cars fit four adult passengers and have a range of 150 miles.

Membership for the service costs $9.99 a month and $4 for 20 minutes in the car. After 20 minutes, users are charged $0.20 per minute.

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15 Comments on “BlueIndy Electric Car Sharing is Born (Under a Bad Sign)...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “I drive my car to work Downtown,” Sean McCarthy told the Indianapolis Star. “It’s only three miles, but we have a parking garage, and traffic isn’t bad at all.

    “I just don’t think Indianapolis is at that point where we have to find all kinds of other ways to get to work. It might make sense in a larger city but not here, yet.”

    Here. This man gets it. Indianapolis is not the city for this service, and it will inevitably fail. Indy is another one of the midwest cities where the majority of the population working downtown does -not- live downtown. They leave the city every day and head up to the northeast section of Hamilton County, where they all live in subdivisions constructed between 1975-2010.

    It just isn’t needed for the area. “The buses suck” isn’t a new revelation, it’s been known for decades. Which is why everybody has a car.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I tried to use the bus while living/working in Detroit, and when I commuted in from the suburbs. The public transportation in Nairobi is only slightly worse. Paying $50 a month for parking and not dealing with the people on the bus was worth it to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Three miles. The guy should get off his lazy ass and use a bicycle. In good weather, at least.

      • 0 avatar
        eamiller

        You apparently haven’t ever lived in Indiana. There’s probably a total of 20 days a year where you could bike to work when the weather is “good”. Otherwise, the storms, humidity, heat, cold, snow, and ice conspire to make bike riding a leisure activity by the vast majority of inhabitants. Try again.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          This. Indiana and Ohio do not -have- nice days like other places. On the days that are actually nice you’ll know it, because 75% of the population is outside doing crap after work.

          Other than that, it’s cold/hot/humid or otherwise miserable. I drive 3.3 miles to work. If I biked there, I’d need a shower every day when I arrived.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Good grief, I thought the red bicycle rental stations that have been popping up all over Cincinnati were bad. I have seen a grand total of ONE of the red bikes being pedaled around.

    Who the heck works downtown anymore? With suburban office parks all over the place, and suburban residential areas, the only reason to go downtown is to see a ballgame or concert.

    • 0 avatar
      jimble

      Depends on where you live. In big Eastern metropolitan areas lots of people are moving downtown, and the suburban office parks are being abandoned in favor of locations closer to transit. In DC you can’t go anywhere without seeing somebody riding a Capital Bikeshare or driving a Car2Go. But Indianapolis or Cincinnati… yeah, probably not so much.

  • avatar
    FThorn

    Yep. one passed across my path few days back.

  • avatar
    darex

    Everyone in Indpls has a car, and usually a big car …unless they can’t, due to the lack of a valid license, in which case, this service is out-of-bounds to them.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    It there’s a problem with your rental, where does the customer support call go?

    “Customer support. Hello my name is Mike. May I know what problem you may be facing with your Bollore?”

    “Well, it’s says it’s fully charged but it won’t go.”

    “Very good. Let me verify problem. you’ve been charged for a ho. Is this ho you know?”

    “NO! I SAID IT WON’T GO!”

    “Ok. I give apology for that. You have ho that won’t go?”

    “Where are you located?”

    “India.”

  • avatar
    shaker

    “…and have a range of 150 miles”.

    On the Euro cycle, maybe. Probably 80 miles on the EPA.

    The problem with these “ideas” is that it seems to answer a question that nobody was asking (and nobody wants to pay for), and can be another “black mark” that EV detractors can point to.

    Look at the “Blue Indy EV, a TOTAL FAILURE”.

    I’m still an advocate for the tax credits, but only for cars that aren’t considered “high-performance luxury” models (sorry Tesla, but those subsidies for YOUR cars are detracting from the reputation of EV’s generally).

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Sounds like typical city politics to me.

    The council members who didn’t get their pet project approved are crying to the press about those that did. Because city councils are daycare for failed real estate agents and lawyers. They will feel better after they have a juice box and a nap.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    How is this the nation’s first electric car sharing service? San Diego has had an all-electric Car2Go fleet for years.

    Using taxpayer money and giving special access to real estate are two features of transportation sharing schemes that really should be getting some dirty politicians publicly lynched.

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