The City of Chula Vista will initiate the process of recruiting bi-lingual, local drivers for it’s free shuttle program that will offer free on demand rides for seniors in northwest Chula Vista.
The city will run the program and it will be operated by Circuit Transit Inc., which has been running San Diego’s Free Ride Everywhere Downtown (FRED) program. The city’s partnership with Circuit began in October 2020 when they applied for funding for an on-demand and all electric shuttle service for Clean Mobility Options Voucher pilot program (CMO) that provides funding for zero emissions mobility options to under-resourced communities in California
Council member Jill Galvez was at the forefront of this initiative. Applications are anticipated to be released by late December or early January. The program is looking to hire 12-20 applicants who are at least 21 with a valid driver's license to start. According to Galvez, applicants will see $16 to $18 an hour as a Circuit Driver ambasador.
This community shuttle program will serve adults 55 and older in its first year to improve mobility options through electric shuttles slated to begin February 2022. In the second year, the service will open to the public with a small flat rate fare and the third year will be funded entirely by the Community Congregation Development Corporation (CCDC).
According to Galvez, the program will be studied by the Metropolitan Transit System, likely for the first year of the service, to determine whether the free shuttle program may operate in all cities within a three mile radius from trolley stations.
The shuttle service will use a fleet of five all dedicated electric vehicles and one van that will operate 12 hours a day 5 days a week with a service area based on the requirements of the CMO voucher program. According to Galvez, Circuit will purchase the vehicles which have a wait time for production.
Eligibility for this service will be determined by entering a date of birth when creating an account. Riders may request rides through a mobile ride request app, I-Pad kiosks available at key locations or through a phone number.
“This is going to change lives and how we move in our region, if we continue to blaze the trail.This is leading-edge and I am determined to expand it throughout Chula Vista and encourage other cities to do the same” Galvez said.