Going green with Circuit ridesharing
By Stephanie Racine
With Mayor Lightfoot’s new proposal on taxing solo rideshares, Circuit is a new viable option.
Circuit is a free and green rideshare company that made their debut in Chicago over the summer. New Eastside is a popular stop. The cars resemble shuttles, with each of the six passengers having their own door. The vehicles are fully electric and are hailed just like other rideshare companies, by using an app. Circuit has almost completed its pilot period in downtown Chicago and is winding down in November, but the company has no plans to leave.
“By no means do we want to leave Chicago. We’d love to be there full time,” said Circuit Co-Founder Alexander Esposito.
Circuit is looking for new ad partners for Chicago, but ideally they’d like to operate in Chicago by working with the city itself.
“We’re hoping to secure a longer-term service agreement with the City, local transit agencies or another local organization,” said Esposito.
In San Diego, there are 22 Circuit cars in operation with around 21,000 rides a month. Chicago’s ridesharing numbers are much larger than that, with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning reporting 286,000 rideshare rides per day.
Esposito said they want to help with downtown congestion by making Circuit easily accessible at parking garages. They also want to help promote public transportation use.
“If more people could get a ride to the train, I think more people would use public transportation,” Esposito said.
According to Co-Founder James Mirras, there was a trend of Circuit customers using the app to get to and from the Washington/Wells CTA station.
“I was visiting family in the suburbs and used Circuit to get from the Metra to an appointment I had,” said Ana Ayrempour.
Ayrempour was surprised at how smooth the process was, especially with it being a free service.
“It was a quick pickup and the driver was nice,” said Ayrempour.
Circuit employs drivers full-time and wants to focus on having local people driving their cars. Esposito thinks this helps bring a more comfortable feel to the experience.
“I’ve seen a driver taking time to teach an older woman how to use the app,” Esposito said.
Circuit was started by Esposito and his partner, James Mirras, as a beach shuttle in the Hamptons in New York, and was originally called The Free Ride. Now, Circuit has grown in different cities—both big and small. South Florida, Texas, California, and the Jersey Shore currently have Circuit.
For more information and to download the app, visit thefreeride.com