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Meet FRED: Free Downtown San Diego Shuttle Service

Tooling around downtown San Diego just got a whole lot easier.

That’s thanks to a brand-new service for the city called FRED, which stands—rather snappily we think—for “Free Ride Everywhere Downtown.” A fleet of electric shuttles gives up to five passengers the option of circumventing downtown’s parking headaches to reach restaurants, boutiques, parks, theaters, and other attractions—quick, convenient, and free!

The service—currently supported by parking-meter revenues—comes from a partnership between Civic San Diego and the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

You request a ride on a FRED shuttle via your smartphone using “The Free Ride” app. It’s a little difficult to track it down in the app store: It’s easiest to go to the Free Ride website and download from there.

FRED shuttles are available seven days a week: 7 AM to PM Monday through Thursday, 7 AM to midnight on Friday, 8 AM to midnight on Saturday, and 9 AM to 9 PM on Sunday.

Again, these are completely free, although FRED encourages tipping if you enjoy your ride. Bonus: There are also in-shuttle photobooths (free to use as well) for documenting your journey! (You can see FRED “car-cam” selfies right here.)

FRED’s debuting with 15 shuttles, but the project hopes to add five more within its first year. San Diego’s the biggest FRED market yet; it’s also operating in Venice and Santa Monica as well as locations in South Florida (Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach), New Jersey (Asbury Park), and New York (the Hamptons).

Here at the Sofia Hotel, we’re right in the heart of FRED territory! If you’re looking to zip over to Balboa Park, prowl the stores of the Gaslamp Quarter or Seaport Village, or have an Old World-style feast in Little Italy, one of these electric rides could be just the ticket (and hey, no ticket required!).

Keep in mind FRED San Diego’s brand-new, so there are bound to be a few kinks here and there to be worked out. We recommend double-checking your pickup location, as it has a tendency to change.

The Sofia positions you for easy walking adventures in downtown, but for covering even more ground more quickly consider taking advantage of FRED!