New car share program open for test drives

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It started with Hoosiers sharing bikes around Indianapolis. But soon, residents can get around town in the comfort of a car thanks to “BlueIndy”, the city’s new car sharing service.

People can take test drives right now, but subscribing to use the program doesn’t start until December. The pricing structure hasn’t officially been announced.

The program is the first of its kind in the U.S. The city partnered with the Bolloré Group to create the car share system.

The Bolloré Group plans to invest about $35 million in Indianapolis for the project, making it the largest electric car sharing service in the country.

As an electric car owner, the charging stations along Washington Street near Meridian are nothing new for Jeff Merrow. Thanks to BlueIndy, anybody with a license and credit card will soon be able hop in one of the battery powered rides and cruise up to 160 miles on one charge.

“I think it’s great, I mean this puts Indianapolis in the forefront,” Merrow said.

Guy Russell felt the same way as he and several others tried to learn about the new program. “Everybody’s kind of looking to find most economical way to operate, to get where they got to go. So I could see myself possibly using this,” he said.

So how do you do it?

People first need to sign up in one of the registration booths. All you need is your driver’s license and a credit or debit card.

After paying, the machine gives you a membership card. Drivers then get assigned a car and remove the charger before taking off. If someone is already registered, the process of checking out a car takes less than a minute.

“This service is like an on-demand car. It is there when you want it and need it,” said Mayor Greg Ballard.

Ballard added that the share service is perfect for those who can’t afford a car payment but still need to get around, or those who don’t often use cars like college students.

Merrow, who has kids of his own, likes that idea.

“If they go to school here in Indianapolis, am I going to have to buy each one of them a car? Or can I just buy them a car subscription just like a cell phone service,” he said.

The only working Kiosk is at Washington and Meridian Street. That’s where people can do test rides.

Organizers plan to have 25 kiosks up and running by the end of the year with more than 100 cars. It will eventually include 500 cars and 200 service stations fitted with 1000 charging stations.

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