BlueIndy to end service in May

Electric car transportation service BlueIndy is set to end its collaboration with the city of Indianapolis in May, according to the service’s website. BlueIndy’s FAQ webpage said the decision was made because the program was not economically viable. According to the website, subscribers to the service will have no penalties for terminating their subscription. The cars will still be accessible through May 21. The cars will progressively decrease in number through the date of the shutdown, according to The Indianapolis Star.

Users of the service can access and return cars from one of 92 different stations placed across the Indianapolis area, according to IndyStar. It cost $8 for a 20-minute, one-time use of the service and 40 cents for each additional minute. Yearly subscription to the service was $9.99 per month, plus $4 for 20 minutes and 20 cents per each additional minute, according toIndyStar.

BlueIndy initially cost an estimated $50 million, with the company itself investing $41 million, the city contributing $6 million and Indianapolis Power & Light Company putting in $3 million, according to IndyStar. Bolloré Logistics, a French transportation company, owned BlueIndy, according to IndyStar.

Photo by Kiara Conley A BlueIndy car charges at one of the service’s charging stations outside of the Health Pavilion on Jan. 26. The service will be ending in May due to the program not being economically viable. The number of cars available will be progressively decreased up until May 21.

The University of Indianapolis has charging stations located east of the Health Pavilion at the intersection of East Hanna Avenue and South State Avenue. Freshman business administration and entrepreneurship double major Joel Gonzalez said he occasionally used the service, but he said he experienced some issues when using the service.

“The size of the car is pretty small,” Gonzalez said. “For us tall people, it was really hard to be in [the car].”

He said that he barely had any room for groceries when he used a car to go shopping, and also that it was difficult to lock the doors. Upon learning that the service was ceasing operations, Gonzalez said he still found the news slightly upsetting.

“It was a good way to get around,” Gonzalez said. “The student pass did really make a difference, saved a lot of money…. If they could replace [the service] with [a bigger] car, I feel like it would be a big improvement and there would be more money coming in for them.”

Courtney Arango, manager of external communications for Indianapolis Power & Light Company, said in a statement that the company remains focused on maintaining electric vehicle infrastructure.

“Our goal remains to work with the City of Indianapolis to meet our customers’ needs,” Arango said. 

According to a statement by Taylor Schaffer, deputy chief of staff for Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, the future of the BlueIndy charging stations is currently unknown. Schaffer said the city has engaged in conversations regarding options for sustainable transportation and that BlueIndy has been an important part of that conversation by providing a car-sharing option for Indianapolis residents.

“Over the coming months, we will work with neighbors, corporate partners and personal mobility advocates to explore whether financially-sustainable options exist to put the electric charging infrastructure to use,” Schaffer said in a statement. “While the company’s recent announcement is unfortunate for those who have embraced BlueIndy as a transportation option, we remain steadfast in our commitment to access and equity in transportation and improved connectivity for all Marion County residents.”