A free micro-shuttle designed to reduce car trips and stimulate the local economy will begin Thursday in Belmont Shore, city officials announced this week.
Circuit Transit will provide electric-powered shuttle service for business districts, amenities and services free of charge Thursdays through Sundays, according to an Oct. 24 memo from Long Beach Public Works Director Eric Lopez to City Manager Tom Modica.
The City Council approved the $1.6 million shuttle program in September.
The shuttles will operate from 4 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The shuttles will offer both on-demand and fixed-route pick-up and drop-off services, according to the memo.
The shuttles, which are electrically powered, will carry five passengers. There will be four to five shuttles available for use during its time of operation, one of which will be ADA-accessible, according to city officials.
Customers must be within the shuttle’s service area, which includes Alamitos Bay, Naples, Belmont Shore and Belmont Heights, to get a ride. Riders can use the Ride Circuit mobile app or visit ridecircuit.com/ride for more information.
On Thursday, Nov. 10, Circuit will begin operating an identical free shuttle service in the Downtown area. Though the two service areas will not be connected, city officials “will explore ways to connect these two service areas to allow easy transfers if desired,” according to Lopez’s memo.
City officials chose the two service areas because of the density of businesses and services, and because the areas include several underutilized public parking lots that can be useful in easing the crunch of on-street parking during weekends, according to the memo.
In 2018, Circuit Transit operated a similar service for eight weeks in Downtown called Free Ride. That service carried 16,742 riders, created 17 jobs and reduced 7.5 tons of CO2 emissions, according to Lopez’s memo.
A year later, Councilmember Suzie Price, who represents the Belmont Shore area, asked officials to look at options as struggling retailers along Second Street complained that the lack of parking paired with the soon-to-open 2nd and PCH shopping center could make business worse.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with corrected graphics from the city.