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Mayor Faulconer Announces Launch of San Diego’s First Free Downtown Shuttle Program

Civic San Diego, Downtown San Diego Partnership Team Up to Launch Downtown Circulator Program

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – To provide more efficient and sustainable transit options in San Diego, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, Civic San Diego and the Downtown San Diego Partnership announced the launch of the new “Free Ride Everywhere Downtown” or “FRED” circulator program.

“Downtown is one of our city’s most vibrant communities but some San Diegans stay away because parking can be a challenge,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We heard those concerns and are proud to introduce this all-electric, sustainable transportation solution that let residents and visitors park anywhere downtown and still easily get to the great restaurants, shops and attractions Downtown has to offer.”

The new program, initially funded by Downtown parking meter revenues, features five-passenger, all-electric vehicles that are designed to augment existing transportation options and make short trips within Downtown’s eight neighborhoods easier. The initial launch includes 15 vehicles with the fleet expected to grow to 20 within the first year.

Users will be able to request a pick up via a mobile app called The Free Ride. The shuttles are free to the public thanks to dedicated funding from Civic San Diego – which manages the Downtown Community Parking District – and private sponsorships.

“We are very excited about the launch of FRED as we continue to increase mobility options in our Downtown,” said Reese A. Jarrett, president of Civic San Diego. “Through this public-private partnership, we are reducing congestion and decreasing our carbon footprint within the downtown community. Residents, workers and visitors will be able to navigate Downtown to enjoy lunch or dinner, attend events, or venture to any of Downtown’s distinct neighborhoods in a free and convenient way.”

Initial funding for the program comes from $500,000 in Downtown parking meter revenues. The goal for the FRED program is to become fully sustainable via private sponsorship dollars in the next few years, with public funds being phased out.

“We are excited to bring this new free transportation option to the mix of available ways to navigate Downtown,” said Kris Michell, president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. “Downtown is already a dynamic environment for businesses and residents alike. This new service will only add to the quality of life that makes our urban center a dynamic place to live, work and play.”

FRED shuttles will operate seven days per week:

  • 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday
  • 7 a.m. to midnight, Friday
  • 8 a.m. to midnight, Saturday
  • 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday

To learn more about FRED, visit http://thefreeride.com/fred/.


Civic San Diego is a nonprofit, public-benefit corporation created by the City of San Diego to engage in economic development, land use and permitting services for Downtown San Diego, and project management services. Visit Civicsd.com.

The Downtown San Diego Partnership is a nonprofit, member-based organization that serves as the leading advocate for the revitalization and economic health of Downtown San Diego. To learn more about the Downtown Partnership, visit DowntownSanDiego.org.

CONTACT: Jen Lebron at (619) 384-5289 or [email protected].

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