Free Electric Shuttle Service Expands Into Brooklyn And Hollywood, FL

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The free electric shuttle service called Circuit has added locations in Brooklyn and Hollywood, Florida. The company has been operating electric shuttles in cities like Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, San Diego, Austin, Houston, East Hampton, and others. It used to be called The Free Ride, but now is named Circuit. Alex Esposito, one of the company’s co-founders, answered some questions about the expansion for CleanTechnica.

Why did the free electric shuttle service expand into Brooklyn and Hollywood, Florida?

We expanded to Brooklyn in partnership with Runa and Vita Coco. We’ll be running a shuttle in Williamsburg this summer to help with some of the service interruptions during the L train. We’ll be offering the community a free, sustainable connection to the ferries and alternate train lines (J, M, Z and G). In Hollywood, we’ve formed a partnership with the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) that’s called the Sun Shuttle. It will allow residents and visitors to get around downtown, to the beach, and around the beach area without having to use their own cars.

How do people in these cities catch the free shuttle service and where does it go?

We use an on-demand app, and in most markets, we also accept street hails — you can just waive the car down and hop in so long as there’s a safe place to pull over. There are pre-defined coverage areas in our app. If you’re anywhere within our 2-3 mile zone, then the ride is free.

What is the seating capacity of each shuttle?

Each shuttle carries 5 passengers with ample room for bags or luggage.

Which company manufactures the shuttles and how much does each one cost?

The cars are made by Global Electric Motors (GEM), a subsidiary of Polaris. They’re all made right here in the US. The cost varies a bit, but we use the lithium cars that are a bit more expensive — approximately $25,000 to $30,000 each.

Where does the money come from to purchase and operate the shuttles?

We’re a well capitalized startup that purchases the vehicles.

Will the shuttles expand into other cities as well?

We’re active in 20 markets and growing. We’ll be opening a few new markets this year that we cannot disclose at this time. A list of our current markets is available on our website.

Why use all-electric shuttles?

Electric cars are great! Not only are they reducing green house gas emissions in all of our areas, but they are also less expensive to run since we don’t have to pay for gas.

How many free rides have the shuttles given so far?

We’ve given over 2.5 million rides since starting and do almost 5,000 rides per week in Downtown San Diego, for example. There we have a nationally applauded circulator with Civic San Diego that’s called FRED San Diego (Free Rides Everywhere Downtown).

Who started this shuttle service and how did the idea come about?

The shuttle was started by myself and James Mirras in the Hamptons in 2011. The initial idea came about because there was an overcrowded beach parking lot in our hometown of East Hampton and an underutilized lot in town (about 1.2 miles away). We thought, if we can use electric cars and work with cities and advertisers to pay for this service, then we can offer a free, first/last-mile solution to consumers that reduces single occupancy vehicles.

Image Credit: Circuit

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Jake Richardson

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