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Electric Shuttle Pilot Program Coming Soon

Jun 24, 2016 01:15PM ● Published by Jeanne Fratello

Sample image via Downtowner

Aiming to address ongoing concerns about parking in busy beachside shopping districts, the Manhattan Beach City Council has approved a six-month pilot program for a fleet of electric vehicles that will provide free rides west of Sepulveda.

The six-seater electric golf cart vehicles could be summoned via an app similar to Uber or Lyft. The rides would be free; they would be paid for by advertisers that wrap their messages around the vehicles.

The city will now choose between proposals from two different companies that have provided similar services in other cities. The Downtowner service operates in South Florida and Southern California cities, and is expanding to Tampa, FL and Aspen, CO this summer. The Free Ride service operates in New York, South Florida, New Jersey, San Diego, and Venice. In addition to working as an Uber-style service, Free Ride also establishes pickups at popular locations that allow passengers to find a car without using the app.

The proposed service area would cover all of Manhattan Beach west of Sepulveda, including the North Manhattan Beach (El Porto) corridor. The vehicles would be housed and charged at a charging station in the Metlox parking garage.

Many downtown businesses, along with the the Downtown Manhattan Beach Business and Professional's Association, have advocated for this kind of service to alleviate the parking crunch during peak shopping and dining times.

"The program will offer a convenient, safe, cost effective, sustainably conscious alternative to traditional transportation patterns and parking options within the city," said the downtown organization's executive director Kelly Stroman in a statement to the city. "Residents will be able to access shopping, dining, the beach, the Library, City Hall, the North End, parks and more without the difficulty, and subsequent frustration, of attempting to park."









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