KIRKWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) – There’s plenty of clearly-designated free parking in Kirkwood, but finding a spot can still be a major hassle during the holidays or special events.
“(Parking) is not always available when and where people want it,” acknowledged Donna Poe with the Downtown Kirkwood Special Business District. “So we’ve been trying to find a way to move people around and help them get where they want to be, when they want to be there.”
Looking to alleviate traffic headaches will be the Kirkwood Connector, an electric cab service officially launching Thursday Oct. 26 during the city’s annual Halloween Walk.
Starting Thursday a pair of e-Cabs, capable of transporting five people apiece, will be criss-crossing a 16-square block section of downtown Kirkwood from 5-9 pm Thursdays and Fridays and 1-9 pm on Saturdays.
“We already have residents asking us if we’ll take them home,” according to Poe. “The answer to that is ‘No!’.”
Kris Bailey is COO of Electric Cab of North America-Austin, which has been in business for about a decade and will be providing the e-Cabs for Kirkwood.
“We are an environmentally-sustainable company and we believe that the future of transportation in general is moving towards electric,” Bailey told KMOX News. “We focus on an industry called micro-transit, which is connecting short distance transportation needs.”
The Kirkwood Connector will run as a pilot project through December 30th, taking in not only the Halloween Walk but the Holiday Walk on November 18th and photos with Santa at the Kirkwood Train Station, as well as the winter fireworks festival on the 30th.
If it seems to be working then it could become a permanent service offered on weekends in Kirkwood, and that’s not all.
“We’re dually-based right now but we’re seriously looking at the St. Louis region to move our corporate headquarters,” according to Mark Minden with Electric Cab of North America. “This (Kirkwood) is our first city in the region, and this is driven from the downtown business district. They see a need and they’re putting forth technology to try and solve that need.”
The Downtown Kirkwood Special Business District is footing the $20,000 cost of the two month long trial run.
“Because this is a pilot program and we don’t know exactly how this is going to play out we could make changes or adjustments as we go along,” according to Poe.
She added that in addition to the service being free of charge, e-Cab drivers will not be expecting tips and riders shouldn’t feel obligated to provide one.
The ribbon-cutting for the Kirkwood Connector is set for 4 pm Thursday, Oct. 26 at the Kirkwood Train Station (110 N. Kirkwood Rd).