ANAHEIM, Calif., Jan, 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The City of Anaheim and Anaheim Resort Transportation have launched FRAN – Free Ride Around (the) Neighborhood – a unique app-based, microtransit system using electric vehicles. The FRAN fleet of 10 all-electric Polaris GEM cars connects popular destinations in Anaheim’s booming Center City area. The shared vehicles arrive on demand via FRAN’s smartphone application. The app contains points-of-interest information, and future editions will update driving visitors in real time on where to park near FRAN pick-up spots.
FRAN is distinct from other microtransit systems: It is a free, electric-vehicle service accessed through app technology and operated by a public transportation agency, not by a private company.
“FRAN is place-based microtransit,” said Anaheim Director of Community & Economic Development John Woodhead. “It integrates with pedestrian, auto and bus mobility in Center City, which has developed into a constellation of booming retail, restaurant, residential, office and entertainment destinations such as The Packing House and Center Street. Just as importantly, FRAN is an expression of the city’s personality, with colorful vehicle designs rooted in Anaheim’s history and culture.”
FRAN does not follow fixed routes but rather visits several fixed stops based on riders’ pick-up and destination requests within the Center City area. FRAN is wheelchair accessible, and two vehicles will be retrofitted with a wheelchair-accessible ramp. Operating hours are seven days a week, generally between 11 am to 10 pm/midnight. The 10 Polaris GEM e6 vehicles accommodate a driver and five passengers, and its drivers are knowledgeable docents of the Center City area, much like travel guides (see more on the Polaris GEM vehicles below).
While FRAN is an acronym for Free Ride Around (the) Neighborhood, its identity is inspired by Francisca Avila Rimpau, a founding mother of the historic Anaheim Colony, and of the entire Southern California region.
The FRAN fleet consists of 10 new Polaris GEM e6 vehicles. Polaris GEM, one of the world’s leading innovators of electric vehicles, is also one of Anaheim’s most successful manufacturers. Polaris GEM is the first commercially produced street-legal, low-speed vehicle in the U.S. Its passenger and utility electric vehicles are sustainable and economical, with zero emissions and low operating costs. GEM vehicles save significant amounts of carbon dioxide, and save costs to the City over the vehicles’ lifespans compared to other vehicles.