Blue Indy electric car sharing program launches in Indy Wednesday

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Indianapolis, Ind. (September 2, 2015) - Blue Indy cars have been charging across Indianapolis and now you can take those cars for a spin.

Indianapolis' new electric car rental program launches Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting at noon.

It's causing a rift between some city-county councilors and Mayor Greg Ballard.

Democratic councilors upset with the Mayor's office for spending $6 million on the program held a news conference 24 hours before Wednesday's launch.

"This was a sweetheart deal once again that no one was aware of, no one understood what was going on," said Joe Simpson, City-County Council. "We had to dig on our own. I don't understand why certain companies get to come in here and get these sweetheart deals and we were not made aware of it."

Mayor Greg Ballard says the dealings with Blue Indy have been legal.

"What they're saying is ludicrous, I mean it's hilarious," said Mayor Ballard. "They just went over there and lied to you."

Councilor Simpson says they're upset because the city has waived fees related to permits for the stations. For example, the city waived $30,000 in fees for the Blue Indy site located at Washington and Meridian.

"Everybody pays," said Councilor Simpson. "If you're going to come in here, then follow the rules. If you and I have to start a business, we know what we have to go through. They're giving this company a pass."

"Are all these restaurants and everybody else that uses these spaces, are they paying franchise fees, answer me that," said Mayor Ballard.

The councilors also argue the money should go to public safety, like adding police officers and squad cars.

Mayor Ballard said, "It's coming from infrastructure money and everyone has known that for almost a year now."

The mayor's spokesperson says the $6 million is not coming from any public safety funds, but rather from public works sources, including the parking meter fund.

Another concern is the location of the charging stations. Some business owners have complained the reserved Blue Indy spaces take up valuable spaces for customers.

"Some neighborhood folks are threatening to file lawsuits out there where these meters are in front of these businesses and I've heard that and I think a lot of people in Indy are very very upset with the situation," said Councilor Simpson. "We're not saying anything's wrong with Blue Indy but come into Indianapolis and do it right."

Randy Peterman, the owner of Peterman's Tire Center, fought back against a proposed station right in front of his business.

"Well it's kind of like Monopoly and they just want to come in and take over. I mean there's no letter sent out, you know we're going to have an interview with you, talk to you about taking part of your land, they just want to come and take it," said Randy Peterman, the owner of Peterman's Tire Center.

The mayor's spokesperson said the city and Blue Indy will work with anyone who has concerns about the location of a charging station.

Blue Indy is the largest electric car sharing service in the United States.

Here is a map of all Blue Indy stations and details on pricing.

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