INDIANAPOLIS NOT FOR PROFIT IS TRYING TO BRING A FREE RIDE SERVICE TO INDIANAPOLIS.. *PHI*) YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT.. FREE! NEWS 8’S RICHARD ESSEX HAS BEEN LOOKING INTO HOW THE PROGRAM WOULD WORK. *REPORTE*) ((/ RES RILEY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION HERE IN INDIANAPOLIS HAS APPLIED FOR A GRANT FROM THE FORD COMPANY TO TEST MARKET 4 FULLY ELECTRIC VEHICLES THAT WOULD OFFER 6 RIDERS A FREE RIDE IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA… :)) THE VEHICLES ARE LIKE NOTHING WE HAVE ON THE STREETS HERE IN INDIANAPOLIS. THEY ARE REMINISCENT OF OVER GROWN GOLF CARTS THAT ARE STREET LEGAL. CIRCUIT FORMALLY KNOWNS AS FREE RIDE IS THE COMPANY BEHIND THESE VEHICLES. MEG STORROW IS ON THE RILEY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS, SHE IS ALSO A TRANSPORTATION PLANNER. ((/ 01 10 52 NOW IT HAS BECOME A MICRO TRANSPORTATION OPTION IN MANY CITIES INCLUDING ANN ARBOR AND BOSTON AND SEVERAL MAJOR CITIES: )) THE VEHICLES RUN A REGULAR ROUTE AND THE RIDERS DON’T PAY A DIME FOR THE RIDE. THE FUNDING FOR THE SERVICE COMES FROM ADVERTIZERS, THE ANNUAL OPERATING COST, INCLUDING A DRIVERS SALARY IS 75 THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR. RILEY IS HOPING THE SERVICE WILL FILL-IN SOME OF THE TRANSPORATION GAPS-CALLED THE LAST MILE- WHICH ARE AREAS NOT SERVED BY PUBLIC TRANSPORATION. ((/ 01 12 24 SO THIS LAST MILE NEEDS TO BE SERVICED BY A CLUSTER OF OPTIONS THE RIGHT-AWAY RIGHT NOW IS VERY CAR ORIENTED BUT AS VEHILCES SLOW DOWN BECAUSE OF THE POTENTIAL CONFLICTS IN THE ROADWAY IT MAKES IT OPEN TO MORE, DIFFERENT TYPES OF VEHICLES, BECAUSE THE SLOWER THE TRAFFIC GETS THE MORE IT ALLOWS FOR DIFFERENT OPTIONS AND IT BECOMES SAFER :)) IF RILEY RECIEVES THE GRANT, THE PLAN IS TOO TEST FOUR VEHCILES IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA THAT WILL CONNECT JW MARRIOT, IU HEALTH, THE TRANSIT CENTER AND MASS AVE. IF THE TEST PROVES SUCCESSFUL RILEY HOPES TO PARTNER WITH LARGER DOWNTOWN EMPLOYERS TO OFF-SET THE COST AND EXPAND THE ROUTES. STORROW SAYS THERE ARE PEOPLE MOVING DOWNTOWN THAT JUST DONT WANT THE HASSLES OF A CAR. ((/ 01 17 44 THE DRIVERS ARE AMBASSADORS FOR THE CITY THEY ARE TRAINED TO TALK ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE, WHERE YOU ARE VISTING DO YOU NEED A RESTURANT WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE SO THEY CAN BE AMBASSODORS FOR THE VISITORS THEY ARE THERE TO HELP PEOPLE SO IT IS ALSO COMFORTABLE AND GETS US BACK TO BEING A NEIGHBORHOOD IN A GOOD WAY :)) ((/:RES.. IF RILEY IS GIVEN THE GRANT, IT COULD BE SEVERAL MONTHS BEFORE YOU SEE ONE OF THESE VEHICLES ON THE STREET.. IT IS UNCLEAR WHAT, OR IF ANY PERMITS ARE REQUIRED TO OPERATE A FREE RIDE SERVICE IN INDIANAPOLIS….IN INDIANAPOLIS RICHARD ESSEX