We Tried FRED – Free Ride Everywhere Downtown San Diego!

The OOPM studio is located on the edge of San Diego’s busy, bustling arty neighborhood of Little Italy. We love where we work, because we get inspired, meet interesting neighbors doing cool things, and we get to stay in the mix of all that’s happening in the urban center of the city.

While just a few years ago, this neighborhood was almost too sketchy to even leave your car on the street, it is now over-run with amazing coffee shops, antique boutiques, and art galleries. With that came the disappearance of good parking. When the crew ventures out for lunch or happy hour, we sadly often head away from downtown just so that we don’t have to contend with another parking nightmare.

Enter: FRED. Aka Free Ride Everywhere Downtown. FRED is a ride service, similar to Uber, offered for free by the city to take San Diegans to the great downtown destinations generally less accessible due to parking.

Our office sits right on the cut-off cusp, so we were thrilled to try it and see what downtown has to offer for lunch and happy hour.

Our first ride was today, and the reviews are in – it was an excellent experience!

We downloaded the app, and, much like other car request services (Uber, Lyft), you are shown a map, asked to enter your pick up and drop off locations and told when your FRED car will arrive. You also need to enter the number of people going in the car–FRED can take up to 5 passengers. The app will tell you when your driver is arriving and what their name is, and (again, like Uber) will track the progress of the arriving vehicle on your app’s map.

Voila! Our car arrived right on time, with a friendly driver that took us easily and breezily to our lunch destination. The trip was relaxed, stress-free, and we got door-to-door service with a smile. As we were finishing lunch, we requested our ride back. This time, the app froze, but not before receiving confirmation of the driver coming, so we knew it would likely work out. Sure enough, our vehicle arrived within 10 minutes, and within 5 more we were back to the office.

We asked about tipping – you can tip cash or through the app after your ride. Too easy. At lunch, we figured about a dollar per person seemed fair.

Our only other question is…where will we eat next?

Check out the map here. Download the app here.