BlueIndy Finally Gaining Traction After Rough Start


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The BlueIndy car sharing program in Indianapolis, after a not-so-smooth start more than two years ago, is now growing to its ultimate goal of 500 cars, 200 stations and 1,000 charging spots.


Currently the company finds two major groups of customers:  students – who are generally without a car at all, and those who fly frequently (BlueIndy’s airport location, with 20 Bluecars, represents 7.6% of total riders).

Currently BlueIndy has put in service:

  • 280 Bluecars (all-electric with 30 kWh batteries)
  • 85 stations (5 more under construction and 100 is expected to be available by the end of this year)

4,829 people purchased membership and in total covered 63,328 riders.

Initially, there was a lot of trouble with some of the station’s locations, as local business were upset with parking spaces in front of their shops being filled with Bluecars waiting on riders, while at the same time the BlueIndy service was losing a lot of money, although Chief Executive Officer Gilles Alix today says the operation is close to breaking even.

After negotiations, several stations will now be moved, while the city now gives a two week discussion period to enable businesses to agree on the new installation of a BlueIndy station (although we are unsure if this process could actually stop the process in all cases)

“BlueIndy agreed to move up to five existing stations at its own expense and up to two more stations on the city’s dime, for a total of seven, if businesses could meet that threshold. A handful of business owners took advantage of the opportunity, writing letters to the city requesting that stations be moved.

Napolese, an artisan pizzeria, submitted sales figures to the city showing that its 49th Street location lost as much as 10 percent in monthly revenue from 2014 to 2016, which the restaurant attributed to BlueIndy. SoBro Cafe on 52nd Street submitted a letter stating that sales dropped between 12 percent and 20 percent “for no apparent reason other than parking became more difficult.””

source: IndyStar

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9 Comments on "BlueIndy Finally Gaining Traction After Rough Start"

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I’ll have to go to Indianapolis to get to try one of these amazing efficient electrics. I’ve heard they are starting them in LA too as BlueLA. Pretty neat.

I like the idea of getting to the airport and back, but other than that, these ride sharing schemes hold little appeal to me. I wonder if these cars have heat and A/C? I imagine they must. Are the users aware of the range consequences?

With 30kWh and only urban Indy to drive in, I don’t think range would be an issue, even with heat and AC. I am not sure, but the service may ask your destination and make sure the car is assigns you has adequate charge to make it, with buffer.

Hi! Indianapolis and longtime BlueIndy user here. First off: the cars do have heating, air conditioning, GPS, and a pretty low-quality FM radio. No cruise control. (And, amusingly enough, there’s even a built-in engine noise maker you activate with a button on the end of the turn signal lever.) Range isn’t really an issue. You could go for several hours at freeway speeds (the cars top out at about 70 mph, which is plenty fast enough for the fast lane of the freeway loops–though you do keep getting passed by all the people for whom 15 over the limit just isn’t fast enough) and still have 50% of battery left. You’d just about run out of money to pay for the trip before you ran out of battery. I used ZipCar for a year or so before BlueIndy came to town, and there’s just no comparison. With ZipCar, you had to turn it back in at the same place you checked it out, and it just wasn’t convenient. BlueIndy is pretty much everywhere in the downtown and near uptown areas (and there’s one just a block from where I live in Irvington). Its biggest drawback is that it doesn’t have… Read more »

The average car costs $10,000 a year to own and drive in the US. And the average traveled distance is about 15,000 miles.

With this car sharing it will cost about $2,000 a year to drive about 40 miles a day every day of the year. No one drives 40 every day of the year, or at least not every one does that. 40 X 365 = 14,600 miles.

So this is a no brainner. $2,000 is cheap and a very convenient way to travel provided that you live within the covered area.

No maintenance, gas etc. So people will have about $8,000 as disposable income to buy more rubbish from Walmart etc.

That whole “10,000 a year” baloney is likely for all the folks that lease every three years and have to have a car well above their means. I do not spend that. I buy my cars and keep them ten years. You don’t have to have the latest and greatest that you can’t really afford, but Americans have a real had time with this concept…

I really have no interest is traveling everywhere in a poorly maintained, dirty, econobox rental car. At a real rental agency the car is inspected every time it is returned. This scheme seems to work on the honor system. I’ve seen how well that works in the real world…

I’ve used Zipcar often and it is never dirty or “poorly maintained”. I’m guessing BlueIndy isn’t much different. Also, that $10K is from all types of expenses, including car ownership, insurance, maintenance, parking, gas, repair, etc. It may not be exactly $10K a year but it sure is a hell of a lot cheaper than owning your own car.

(Being from Chicago, carsharing is a much better option than owning since its fairly dense and easy to be car free)

It’s pretty much the same for Indianapolis. BlueIndy is marvelously inexpensive compared to the myriad costs of maintenance, insurance, gas, and so on. Having a car when you need to carry something home but not having to fret about it (or pay for it) when you don’t is marvelously freeing.

And by and large the cars are well-kept, well-maintained, and even a little bit sporty. (Did you know they were designed by Pininfarina S.p.A, the body designer for many expensive sports cars?)

Meanwhile in Madrid we have already 2 similar companies (Car2Go and Emov), which operate each about 500 electric cars (Smart EV and Citroen C-Zero/Peugeot Ion/Mitsubishi iMiev respectively), and a third one is coming with another 500 Zoes.

They say they have 150000 and 100000 registered users (probably most of the shared).

I’m registered in both, although I’ve only used car2go twice. The car was OK from a cleanliness perspective. You park them anywhere and they have them monitored. You look for cars in an app and they also show the remaining battery/range. When the car needs recharging some operator picks it up and drives it to a nearby garage (they have several around the city) and it gets charged and cleaned.

There are also shared electric bike and electric motorcycle companies.

The problem here is with private owned cars (no 7500$ tax credit) and also the lack of public charging infrastructure.