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Mid-Town-Get-Around Ride Share

The MLK Center will develop and manage a trusted, neighborhood-based ride share program for families with children.

Photo of Allison Luthe
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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.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

The Mid-Town-Get-Around will primarily be used by families with multiple children. The attached image shows a non-car owner with their home as the center of their mobility plan. While using the redline to go to the transit center and taking a bus to work, the family uses the dotted lines of the Mid-Town Get Around to get from place to place that improve quality of life - grocery, doctor, gym, education, etc.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

We have not tested this specific idea, but it grew from providing a limited number of trips on a case by case basis for families with children in the after school program. We have given rides to the doctor's office to get shot records, and to the CCDF office for child care voucher appointments. We have also given rides to the barber shop for job interviews. These were all one-off provided by staff and have demonstrated a need, but not piloted the idea.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

The MLK Center is a neighborhood based community center providing a variety of events, activities, programs and support services for youth and families in the mid-north Indianapolis neighborhoods of Butler Tarkington, Crown Hill, Mapleton FallCreek and Meridian Kessler. Youth ages 0-24 and their families have access to after school educational opportunities, the Best Buy Teen Tech Center, meals, adult education, transportation, and community building events.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Used Vehicle Procurement, Repair, Maintenance - $15,000 Project Coordination - $20,000 Driver Stipends - $25,000 Ap Development - $20,000 Fuel, Insurance, Driver Support - $10,000 Contingency (10%) - $10,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

During the pilot phase we would develop the ap, and procure three vehicles with five drivers to test the idea. We would limit the pilot to families with students in our after school and summer programming from IPS School #43. We would test the usage, and the destinations, and the right price for a ride.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

- number of rides - number of riders (adults and children) - total miles driven - total cost of rides to families (average, total per family) - length/time of rides - comparison of cost to public transportation or other ride share - comparison of travel time to public transportation or other ride share - comparison of wait time to public transportation or other ride share - customer feedback and satisfaction, referral rates - program return on investment - driver feedback

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

We will adjust the program based on feedback. The program will generate revenue from the cost of rides, but will also seek advertising revenue from neighborhood based businesses and services to advertise in the app in the vehicles, on the vehicles, etc.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Elizabeth Durden

Hello Allison, I am Liz a City One Community Resource Liaison. We need your vision for the community to be enacted in every neighborhood in our City! Sustainability is more difficult with this group than any other population in our communities, because of their lack of long term anything. How will you keep them engaged and are you willing to work with any other finalist with similar ideas?

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