Those coming to downtown Huntington Beach can now worry a little less about finding a way to get from point A to point B.
The city launched a free shuttle pilot program on Tuesday. It will operate seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
The program uses the Circuit’s five low-speed electric vehicles, each of which can carry up to six visitors and residents at a time.
Circuit director of operations Daniel Kramer took turns to shuttle Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Delgleize and other local politicians around Pier Plaza on Tuesday morning when the service kicked off.
Kramer kept speeds low, despite Delgleize’s joke that they were going to make donuts in the Pacific Coast Highway parking lot.
“It’s a very special day for us here at Huntington Beach,” said Delgleize.
“I think a lot of us thought how cool it would be to have something like that, and it’s really there. I just can’t believe it… We are confident this pilot program will help improve the quality of life in our city, from micro-mobility to the environment, while adding another convenience to downtown Surf City to help it stand out as one of the favorite summer destinations.
Visitors to downtown Huntington Beach can request a ride through the Ride Circuit app – a large QR code to initiate the download is located near the back of vehicles – or simply hail them like a cab.
If requested through the app, a driver should arrive within eight to 10 minutes.
The pilot program is expected to last five months, said Huntington Beach Public Works Director Sean Crumby. The serviced downtown area stretches north and west to Goldenwest Street, then intersects Adams Avenue to its eastern limit, Beach Boulevard.
“This will make it easier for our residents and our local community to access our downtown area,” said Crumby.
“Second, it’s going to improve our parking lot and help our visitors… come to our downtown area and take a trip like that to one park and multiple destinations. I’m super excited to start this.
Originally launched in New York in 2011, Circuit now serves locations in California, including Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey and San Diego. In Newport Beach, she also manages the Free Ride Around Newport Center (FRANC) program.
The low-speed shuttles, which are Polaris GEM e6 vehicles, run on lithium batteries that can travel around 80 miles on each charge. Four will be standard shuttles and one is an ADA accessible shuttle.
The net cost of the program is estimated to be approximately $ 145,000 over the five month period.
It is expected to be paid for with District Air Quality Management funds, Crumby said in a presentation to city council on June 15.
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