Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A new app-based shuttle service is coming to Augusta, city leaders announced Tuesday.
The Freeloader shuttle service is already active in Aiken, but Mayor Hardie Davis and commissioners are helping to launch it in downtown Augusta.
The launch happened Tuesday morning at the Georgia Cyber Center. The 6-passenger vehicle carried VIP passengers as part of the inaugural ride.
Founder Norman Dunagan says when it comes to finding parking in downtown areas around the region, he noticed plenty of anxiety.
"This eliminates that worry," Dunagan said. "People are free to text, hop on the shuttle, get to where they want to go, and they can do this without moving their vehicle."
The app-based and on-demand shuttle service will run initially from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The free service is tailored to residents, workers, and visitors across the downtown area.
The downtown parking meter program is up in the air, but when it moves forward it will be in the areas Freeloader plans to run.
"If anything else, it just pushes people off of Broad, which allows us to scoop them up, get them onto Broad so they really don't even have to incur the parking if they choose not to," Dunagan said.
Dunagan says the only down side right now is the limited availability of the service. Still, it's part of a strategy.
"We've learned that you want to start soft," Dunagan said. "You never want to underexceed people's expectations."
Anyone interested in riding can download the "Freeloader app" on their smartphones, or text "freeloader" to 555888.
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