The issues facing families connected to the MLK Center in the mid-north/mid-town neighborhoods of Indianapolis are multi-faceted and creative transportation solutions could have a wide spread impact. The idea for the Mid-Town-Get-Around has been brewing for years as families of the MLK Center after school program struggle to access reliable transportation for a variety of needs.
The Mid-Town get around pilot project is a ride share program starting with three quality used mini-vans procured and maintained by the MLK Center. MLK Center will partner with a neighborhood used car dealer and mechanic shop to procure and maintain the vehicles. Neighborhood residents complete the necessary requirements to be licensed/insured drivers with the project. The mini-vans are large enough to accommodate families with multiple children, are accessible and have cargo area for groceries and other purchases.
The Best Buy Teen Tech Center, powered by Klipsch, at the MLK Center will work with partners to develop a Mid-Town-Get-Around App, similar to other ride share programs, so parents can request the vehicle. The ap will reduce the amount of time that is required to place orders in advance, like the 24-48 hour Medicaid cab. Families can reserve a ride or book a ride on demand. The ap will also help parents find trusted, neighborhood based service providers who may save time and money for families.
The Indianapolis Star recently published a list of restaurants along the Red Line - but what about services for low income and mobility limited families in the neighborhood. The ap will connect families with trusted, affordable service providers near them, and also provide transportation if needed.
In addition to providing convenient hours, cost and access, the Mid-Town-Get-Around will solve other problems faced by commonly known ride share programs: (1) Shame about short trips; (2) not kid friendly; (3) trusty and safety. Drivers of Lyft or Uber don't want to take short trips and commonly shame riders. The don't want groceries in their car, and they're not always willing to wait while shopping takes place. For a variety of reasons, drivers also do not want children in their car. Whether it's for cleanliness reasons or liability concerns, traditional ride-share programs are not family friendly. The Mid-Town-Get-Around will specialize in family-friendly, short neighborhood based trips, and will provide car seats. Finally, the Mid-Town-Get-Around will be a trusted source for transportation because the MLK Center is a trusted institution in the community. When we have offered to pay for rideshares parents frequently express safety concerns. Also, many ride share programs will not pickup in the Crown Hill neighborhood resulting in missed and delayed rides. When you find a trusted driver, you cannot specifically request that driver through Uber/Lyft. With drivers being from the neighborhood, they will build the sense of community and trust. With the small fleet, drivers will quickly get to know all the neighborhood streets and get to know the riders.