The Circuit Rideshare has launched in Southwest, covering Buzzard Point and near Navy Yard. Courtesy of Mobility Innovation District

By Beth Hall 

Eight electric Circuit vehicles have quickly become a familiar sight in Southwest and near Navy Yard.  The rideshare program is part of DC’s first Mobility Innovation District (MID). Initiated in 2022,  the MID is  a multi-year, $3 million project spearheaded by the Southwest Business Improvement District (SWBID) and the DC government, supported by Federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. Its purpose is to establish an innovation hub for mobility and the ultimate goal is to reduce congestion and its harmful effects by getting people out of their cars for short trips within Southwest. 

The Circuit rideshare program operates on a mobile app, not unlike Uber and Lyft. The app identifies the pickup address, destination and the number of riders. Once the ride is requested, the vehicle should arrive within 10 minutes of the request. The app is available for download to a smartphone at Service animals are allowed and riders have the ability to request a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. All vehicles are electric and can seat up to five people. 

Waterfront Village has been offering support to its members to download and use the app.   The Village is a community of members, volunteers, and supporters working together to help older adults in Southwest and  the Navy Yard.  The village also hosted Anthony Jackson, Manager of Operations for the Circuit at one of their monthly coffee hours. The Circuit provides rides to “places too far to walk to but too close to drive to,” according to Jackson. 

Waterfront Village Executive Director Len Bechtel said  I am really excited about this service. With the arrival of the Circuit, people who want to go to the Farmers’ Market, the Wharf or Village events but find the walk is just a bit too far from home can now be out and engaged.” For example, the Circuit provided transportation for several Village members so that they could easily attend the Village Art Exhibit in June.

Rides have been free in June and July and will be free until at least mid August while the app is being updated. Riders can also utilize the always-free Buzzard Point Circuit Fixed Route, sup- ported by DC Central Kitchen, which loops between three stops in South- west. The three stops are Southwest Waterfront Metro Station, P Street and 2nd Street SW and DC Central Kitchen headquarters at 2121 1st Street SW. Riders can hop on and off along the route from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The regular Circuit service vehicles are available Monday – Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Friday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Rides to the ballpark and the soccer stadium are available by indi- cating nearby streets, i.e., M Street SE and Half Street SE for Nats Park, and 2nd St. SW and R St. SW for Audi Field. The Wharf is available anywhere along Maine Ave For example, the Fish Market is at 1150 Maine Ave SW.

The MID has also launched a new program, Circuit RideWell, to provide affordable, accessible and easy to use transportation to underserved communities. The program aims to provide greater access to employment opportunities, healthcare services and community resources. Residents who receive benefits from various DC and federal programs are eligible to ride the Circuit for free. More information and the process for determining eligi- bility can be found at https://dcmid. io/circuit or from the SWBID at (202) 618-3515.

The MID has been leading other transportation projects, including the Southwest Shuttle, a full bus service operated in partnership with The Wharf, to connect Southwest land- marks such as the National Mall, the Duck Pond, the Wharf and the Spy Museum. Coming up, the MID will be partnering with DC’s Department of Energy and Environment and Dent House, a community center in Buz- zard Point, to create the city’s first e-bike and e-cargo bike library. They will also launch a project called Hello Lamp Post, a two-way communication platform that uses mobile phones and invites people to strike up conversations in environmentally-friendly locations such as bus stops, the Circuit, parks and more, while collecting data that helps to improve service.

While riding, ask the Ambassador (the driver) for a copy of The Southwester. They usually have them on hand for riders.

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