INDIANAPOLIS – After many bumps in the road, Mayor Greg Ballard and the Bolloré Group announced the arrival of BlueIndy vehicles to Indianapolis streets.
BlueIndy is the city’s new car-sharing program and the first in the country to utilize only electric vehicles. The program’s first 50 cars went into service Wednesday.
“BlueIndy is going to reduce and limit congestion, increase foot traffic in front of area businesses, and help us get off our dependence on foreign oil,” Ballard said.
Ballard and Bolloré’s Vice-President of Development Cédric Bolloré attended the program’s ribbon cutting ceremony at a one of BlueIndy’s charging stations.
“In Indianapolis, we found a city that is dynamic, innovative, and in courageous business,” Bolloré said.
The program has faced complaints against the location of charging stations and the perception that the Bolloré Group has received special treatment. City-County Councilors have also said they have felt left out during discussions.
Still, Bolloré said he is willing to listen to everyone’s ideas as the program gets started.
“We will continue this broad engagement and welcome all input – and, of course, we will follow all laws and regulations,” he said.
Bolloré also addressed concerns on the availability of city parking.
Although some public spots will be lost to create reserved parking for BlueIndy vehicles, he said the reduction in total vehicles on the road would more than balance out the lost public spaces.
Bolloré said BlueIndy could eliminate the need for up to 15 private vehicles for every car in the program.
Despite the fanfare of the ribbon cutting, BlueIndy’s Director of Business Development Bob Briggs still expected a relatively quiet launch.
“We weren’t expecting a huge rush. The key is to get it open,” Briggs said. “If we had 50 useages today, I’d think that was very good.”
However, the team behind the program said the popularity of BlueIndy will grow over time.
Only 25 charging stations and 50 cars are currently operational, but plans to expand to 200 stations and 500 vehicles are in the works.
Once BlueIndy reaches those numbers, Bolloré said Indy would be known for a new 500.