Indianapolis reaches new agreement with BlueIndy

Indianapolis reaches new agreement with BlueIndy. (WISH Photo/Joe Melillo)
Indianapolis reaches new agreement with BlueIndy. (WISH Photo/Joe Melillo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The city of Indianapolis has reached a new agreement with BlueIndy. In addition, the car sharing service might be expanding into Hamilton County.

According to Mayor Jim Brainard, the french based company Bollore Group which owns BlueIndy, approached him about bringing the service to his city. Meanwhile, BlueIndy and the city-county council came to an agreement that said BlueIndy will now pay the city $45,000 a year as part of a new franchise agreement. With that agreement there’s now a chance for people to protest some existing BlueIndy stations.

City county council member Zach Adamson said he’s pleased with the new franchise agreement. The city is now getting back some of the $6 million it spent to bring in BlueIndy.

“Well it is the best that we could have gotten in the current situation,” said Adamson. “This is only for 15 years so we are one year into it so we have 14 more years and considering that and if the program takes off then we can renegotiate a deal that will benefit BlueIndy and the city, and their investment will have already capped out at that point.”

It’s been a little more than a year since the french based electric car sharing service started in Indianapolis.

A company spokesperson said it has about 2,800 members with 32,000 rides reported in the first year. BlueIndy also said slightly more than 80 percent are yearly members and the rest are a mix of daily, weekly, and monthly members.

Adamson said he isn’t sold on the program just yet.

“Typically programs like this are highly successful with high density and low geography and Indianapolis is the exact opposite,” said Adamson. “We are high geography and low density. So I’m not sold on the idea that this will be a successful program, but if it turns out that it is it will be an investment that the city will return some investment as an amenity for the people of the city.”

The franchise agreement states that if more than seven stations are changed, then BlueIndy doesn’t have to pay the franchise fee, according to the agreement. Any new expansions can also be protested.

“Neighbors find existing stations that they find objectionable, they need to reach out to their city councilor and let them know that they have problems with that station and go through the process it creates an undue burden and then possibly have it moved,” said Adamson.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said that the BlueIndy executives confirmed they are interested and are looking at locations for stations in his city. But when asked about tax dollars, Brainard couldn’t say an exact number until plans are configured but does expect BlueIndy will make investments and tax dollars spent to be minimal.

“We are going to work very closely with the city council particularly local businesses we learned from Indianapolis experience we don’t want to cut off parking right on somebody’s front door of their business,” said Brainard. “So we are going to work carefully at getting convenient sites but getting them on back streets maybe right around the corner from the business so it works for everybody.”

If there is a BlueIndy station in a location you don’t like, first call your city council member. The city would then have to prove the station creates an undue burden for residents or a business.

There will also be a public forum before any new station is built.

In an earlier version of this story we reported the city spent $600 million. That number was incorrect.