City proposes on-demand shuttle service for downtown

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SAN DIEGO -- Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers may soon have some new competition downtown thanks to a new city-proposed shuttle service.

“It's something the neighborhood and business people have been wanting for years,” said Richard Seges, Civic San Diego Vice President of Neighborhood Investment.

The shuttle would work on an on-demand basis similar to Uber and Lyft in the sense that customers can request it using their smartphones.

Rides would only be available within downtown San Diego with little to no cost to the customer.

“It's designed for very short trips … say someone arrives at Union Station but needs to get a little further that’s not comfortable walking distance,” said Seges.

D.C. and Denver are two of the few cities with similar shuttle services.

“I think it’s a great idea. I have visited many times and I think it would be a big benefit to the area,” said John DeBiase, a tourist from Florida.

According to Civic San Diego, its main purpose is to solve the ongoing parking issue downtown in addition to promote mobility.

City officials will need to approve the project before it can hit the streets. However, not everyone is happy about it.

Araya Ali, a San Diego cab driver for nearly eight years said if approved, the shuttle could hurt his business severely.

“We’re going to have a hard time running this business. It’s going to be tough for us especially,” said Ali. “Our business is going down, that’s what I know.”

Funding for the shuttle would come from parking meters and garage revenues, according to Civic San Diego.

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