SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Civic San Diego announced today that it is looking for a company to develop and operate a free or low-cost shuttle system for downtown San Diego, beginning next summer.
CivicSD officials said proposals from small businesses, disabled veteran-owned firms, women-owned businesses, companies owned by underrepresented ethnic groups and local firms are especially encouraged to submit their qualifications.
The shuttle wouldn't operate on a defined route with a set schedule, but would instead work on a "demand-response" basis in which prospective passengers could contact the operator via mobile devices when they want a lift and be taken to a destination of their choice.
Civic San Diego considered, but rejected, a more traditional, scheduled circulator service.
"We found that a traditional route-based shuttle did not solve the mobility needs of downtown," said Reese Jarrett, president of Civic San Diego, which assists the city with development issues.
"It was a 20th century solution. We needed a mobility option that was flexible, cost-effective and nimble."
Civic San Diego worked with the Downtown San Diego Partnership to come up with the plan for the service.
The partnership's president and CEO, Kris Michell, said the point-to-point shuttle is designed to solve the "last mile" problem that workers, residents and visitors face when they want go to go to different places in the downtown area.
"With this new system, you would be able to park in East Village and catch a free ride to the county Waterfront Park or to any of downtown's neighborhoods," Michell said.
"Think about it -- with this new free service, you can go shopping in the Marina District and have dinner in the Gaslamp without having to get back into your car and look for parking all over again," she said.
"It makes the downtown experience feel more connected and seamless."
A Request for Qualifications is available online at http://www.civicsd.com/economic-development/rfps-a-rfqs/rfps-a-rfqs.html, and is due back to Civic San Diego Dec. 19.