BlueIndy Takes Off at Indianapolis Airport

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Electric car-sharing service BlueIndy says its new stations at Indianapolis International Airport are already logging between 10 and 15 percent of the service’s overall use, since opening at the end of May, and more new offerings are on the horizon.

A BlueIndy station consists of five spaces. The airport location, located on the fifth floor of the parking garage, is comprised of four stations, equaling 20 combined spaces. BlueIndy president Scott Prince says that since opening, usage appears to be divided equally between area residents and visitors.

“We can see that travel is about equidistant to residential areas and downtown hotels. We’re also seeing lots of activity directly to Broad Ripple. The Marriott East complex is also a popular destination,” says Prince.

Part of the success the airport station is seeing can be attributed to pinpointed marketing efforts. For instance, BlueIndy reached out to potential users in other cities in advance of the recent US Conference of Mayors. “For example, we know the mayor of Denver was one of our users,” Prince noted.

BlueIndy Director of Marketing and Sales Lance Boehmer says working with VistIndy has been a boon to getting the word out to guests traveling to major events.

“Our Indiana Black Expo promotion involved reaching out to Summer Celebration music conference attendees,” explains Boehmer. He adds that information is already being targeted to the thousands of people who will flood into Indianapolis for Gen Con 2016 in the first weekend of August, and that similar outreach will happen when the FFA Convention returns to the city in October. Those are large pools of potential users: Gen Con brought in over 61,000 unique attendees in 2015 and FFA Conventions regularly serve in the neighborhood of 35,000 attendees.

Prince says  the BlueIndy site at the airport is designed to be user-friendly, even to someone who’s unfamiliar with the service.

“The four combined stations are on the fifth floor of the parking garage, and we have an enrollment kiosk on the third floor where travelers exit the pedestrian bridge. We have an ambassador available from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM. The goal is to then get the user into a car within three to four minutes, which is very fast.”

BlueIndy cars are also equipped with appropriate airport gate tags to facilitate speedy exit and entrance from the garage and access lanes, providing members with a customized parking experience.

Analytics for the service are extremely refined according to Prince. BlueIndy has just surpassed the 2,200-member mark, charting over 22,000 individual rides.

“We now understand our users’ micro-network patterns, and we want to make sure we know where cars need to be…and where they don’t need to be. Sometimes parking is more important than actual cars.” Prince says BlueIndy’s dispatch room works 24/7, making sure the company’s ambassadors are moving the electric cars where they’ll be needed the most and freeing charging spaces at locations drawing in users. Stations have up to four cars at any time and no fewer than one, but not all are charged at the same level. The analytics take that into account as well.

“Our statistics show that our users tend to be in their low 40s, divided equally between men and women,” Prince details. “We also have strong use in the 18-to-25-year-old group.”

Prince and Boehmer say BlueIndy will soon be adding new stations at area universities and with them, new student and youth membership rates. Plans are also in the works to tuck more stations into commercial retail areas such as grocery stores and malls.

BlueIndy President Scott Prince explains how car availability at Indianapolis International will be balanced.
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