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Thread: City CarShare

  1. #1
    Cyburbian ecofem's avatar
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    City CarShare

    How many people would join this:

    www.citycarshare.org


    I think it sounds cool, in theory...
    I wonder about practice, though.

  2. #2
    They'll get my car when they pry my cold dead hands from the steering wheel!

    I could never join something like that. However, it seems like a great idea for people who are able to take transit, walk, or bike to work. I know people in Chicago that have a car that they only use every other weekend, so this would be great for them if they needed a car for a weekend getaway or to go shopping for large items.

    I have heard of neighbors doing this with yard equipment and supplies. They all chip in and get a lawnmower, snowblower, or a wood chipper and they can all use it. Seems like it could work with cars too.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  3. #3

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    I would agree with Repo. In an ideal world, I would gladly give up my Subie in exchange for pleasant-smelling trains full of happily smiling, clean, and sane fellow-commuters who are more than willing to make way for my three large dogs-or my bicycle during peak commutes.

    Oh well.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I am more than willing to let people give up their cars for anything that will keep them off of my roads.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian inzane's avatar
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    I think that it is a good idea in theory. The problem with it is that people have a "romantic" type attachment to there cars. Having a car makes the average person feel like they are somebody special even when they are not. It is that thinking that keeps good common sense ideas like this one from taking off. Also the urban sprawl issue causes some problems. In today’s world most people use their car to get to work from way out in the burbs. It is the bubble from the world a fortress of solitude in a way, that is personalizes by stereos, fuzzy dice and that beloved pile of papers that are in the back seat. My point to this is that the modern city is stretched out way to far for programs like this to be effective. People spent too much time in their car, and I think that the average person would want that sacred place (the car) to be theirs. I believe that there was a similar program done in either Seattle or Portland with bikes. I believe that it was not a very big success at all.

    The direct answer to you question is that, yes I would try it but I would not get attached because it will not last long

    Good Question. that got me thinking a little.
    “I injured a rock… Hospitalized a brick… I’m so bad I make medicine Sick!!!!”
    Muhammad Ali

  6. #6
    Member
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    CarShare

    I got rid of my car 2 years ago after joining City CarShare. It was the best thing I ever did... no more searching for parking, getting parking tickets, paying for gas, insurance, or car upkeep. The price structure of CityCarShare allows a 2 hours grocery shopping run to cost only $10-15. The cars are nearby and almost always available (except on weekends which might require planning a couple days ahead of time). Altogether I am healthier for walking, happier for not being stuck in traffic, and saving a ton of money...and with CityCarShare I can still do everything that I was doing when I owned my own car. And if I want to get-away for the weekend, all CityCarShare members are also members of Enterprise rent-a-car at reduced rates.

  7. #7
    that's a sweet deal if joining is practical.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    If I were in that environment I would consider it but I doubt I would have the wherewithal to stick with it. The freedom of being able to pick up and go without advance car reservations would be the deal breaker.

  9. #9
    maudit anglais
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    If and when my wife and I buy a loft/condo downtown, I would definitely consider this option. I don't drive much as it is, and moving downtown would reduce that even more. The only downside would be getting out of the city to visit my parents, or my wife's parents.

    I'm not sure if carsharing has really taken off around here - there was one group in operation, but I'm not sure if they are still around.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf
    I am more than willing to let people give up their cars for anything that will keep them off of my roads.
    Brilliant. Outstanding.
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

  11. #11
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    It’s a step in the right direction!!

    And funny that it is out of SF the hippy/sharing capital (not that that is bad), but I doubt it would work here in Miami where the favorite past time is trying to screw people over, and there is no such thing as on time (the late fines would rack up here).

    Here is my take/opinion*:

    Miami – Not work / The self-centered capital of the WORLD!!

    Midwest – Work / people seem honest and on time.

    North – Work / very urban environment, people need it.

    South – Not work / not enough density.

    West – Don’t know any about the west, but expect it is similar to the south as far as the density issue.

    West Coast – Seems to work thus far, so we will see.

    *of course these predictions are only for the major cities of these regions.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  12. #12
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I think that it would be a good idea to get rid of the car. But also improve public and alternative transportation so that people can get around when they need to. I know allot of people that have gotten rid of there car, lived in downtown Chicago, and never worried about how they where going to get anywhere. As it is, they saved so much, they can fly when they want to get away, and still spend less than before.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    inzane wrote:
    The problem with it is that people have a "romantic" type attachment to there cars.
    That often gets tossed around as a "trueism", which is a pity because it's not at all. People will abandon their cars when the benefits of not having them outweigh the benefits of having them. Unfortunately, there are very few places where that is true, so that particular behavior is not widely understood.

    I was talking to a girl who lives in an outer western neighborhood of Chicago who hates the L but "has" to take it to get to school because it takes twenty minutes off of her rush hour commute. She doesn't have to take it at all, but those twenty minutes are worth enough to her to get on a bus and ride it to the L, and then ride the L into the loop instead of drive.

    One of the problems even in a city like Chicago is that people get cars to have them when they need one, but most of the costs of cars are fixed and the marginal cost of each trip isn't much in comparison. Therefore, once you have a car the economics completely drops out of the decision between driving and using some other mode. During congested times biking and taking separated-ROW transit like metro or commuter rail are faster than driving, but other times (and at all times for buses and light rail that share ROW) the only advantage to not driving is the lack of need for parking.

    If someone can have pay-per-use access to cars (personally operated) that aren't horribly expensive like taxis, they can still use a car when no other mode will reasonably do but they can make a choice as to what mode of transportation without having to deal with the economics of fixed-costs. That would mean a lot more trips by transit or bike.


    In today's world most people use their car to get to work from way out in the burbs.
    Which city are you talking about? In cities with good commuter-rail systems, that's not true. Those cities also tend to have much healthier CBDs than the cities without.

    My point to this is that the modern city is stretched out way to far for programs like this to be effective.
    New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Portland, and Toronto (among others) aren't modern cities? Funny that. Don't use "Modern city" as a euphanisim for "sprawl" (unless you mean modernist city).

    I believe that there was a similar program done in either Seattle or Portland with bikes. I believe that it was not a very big success at all.
    Many cities have bike share programs. My home city of Springfield IL has one, in fact. It's quite popular. They use bikes that police impounded, and spray paint them bright yellow for identification purposes.

    The direct answer to you question is that, yes I would try it but I would not get attached because it will not last long.
    Many cities have had successful car clubs for years, I recall seeing at least two in Chicago. The problem with them is that they have monthly dues, so you still have fixed costs, they're just not as high as owning a vehicle outright.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
    http://hafd.org/~jordanb/ Pretentious Weblog.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    excellent Jordan B.

    I got rid of my car while i was still in the "suburbs" because i lived right off of Main St. and was within walking distance to the train. My girlfriend still had her car so it was really no big deal. My car was paid for and i didn't drive that often to begin with so I wound up saving about $140 a month in maintenance/gas/insurance.

    People then were saying to me, "Ohh i could never do that. What happens if you need to go somewhere?" I lived like that for 2 years and I never had such an urgent and pressing need that I couldn't a)plan ahead for b) take the train/ride my bike to c)wait til my gf got home.

    When i moved into the city I joined Philly Car Share which has a $6 monthly fee. I soon quit because I found that I was paying $6 for nothing. I just never needed it. I live 6 blocks from the grocery store and sometimes it would be nice to have a car for that but the Car Share cars are located in the parking garage of the grocery store so it sort of defeats the purpose. If I'm really in a hurry or my bags are heavy and i don't see the bus coming the cab ride is only $3 - which is actually cheaper than taking out the car share car for an hour.

    At any rate, Philly Car Share is doing well and is going into their second year. They're adding a new car to the system every other month. Some folks who live in the city still need that auto injection every once in awhile so it's great for them if/when they head out to do some suburban mall shopping or if they feel like picking up their friends at the airport. Either way there are enough members running enough errands to keep the operation running.

    With weekend car rentals being as cheap as they are I don't have much of a need for a last-minute ride during the week. Even then, the only reason i rent a car on the weekends is to go visit my mom and that's only because the train ride is circuitous.
    . . . ohh and sometimes to visit friends in DC because Amtrak is so damn expensive on the NE Corridor. An Amtrak trip to Harrisburg will take 2 hours and cost me $15. An Amtrak trip to DC will take 2 hours and cost me $45.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  15. #15
    here in dc we have 2 competing companies, FlexCar and Zip Car, both of which are growing very quickly and are vying for the limited number of parking spaces located near Metro stations.

    car sharing is totally an urban-niche thing, wouldn't work at all in the suburbs or a sprawling, car-oriented city like Los Angeles or Atlanta. only in those places where there's a critical mass of middle and upper-income people who don't normally drive would this work. this is pretty much limited to the following U.S. cities: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Dumb question but....

    Who's responsible for the car if you wreck it? Do you as a user still need to maintain auto insurance of some type?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Originally posted by Mike D.
    Dumb question but....

    Who's responsible for the car if you wreck it? Do you as a user still need to maintain auto insurance of some type?
    With Philly Car Share - and i think this goes for all of the companies. They don't accept drivers with bad records (a ticket here or there is ok). Insurance is included in the cost of rental so there's no need to carry your own. There's also a gas card in the glove box so that's covered too. Philly is working on including EZ-Pass in the equation too.

    All in all it's a good deal.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Originally posted by bestnightmare

    car sharing is totally an urban-niche thing, wouldn't work at all in the suburbs or a sprawling, car-oriented city like Los Angeles or Atlanta. only in those places where there's a critical mass of middle and upper-income people who don't normally drive would this work. this is pretty much limited to the following U.S. cities: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco.
    This isn't true at all. Car Share can and does work anywhere with mediocre transit where there is a low car to driver ratio and that 30 members/potential members are within reasonable walking/transit distance of the car.

    Flexcar is already operating in Fairfax Co., VA and suburban MD. They're all over LA. They're in San Diego and they've saturated Seattle.

    Zip Car is in Denver and Princeton, NJ of all suburban places.

    Halifax, NS has their own non-profit car share. Madison, WI will see a new non-profit this summer. Minneapolis has one in the works. So does Ann Arbor.

    Hippies have been running their own car co-ops for years now.

    I'm managing a CMAQ grant for Philly Car Share. They plan on "placing 44 vehicles in 9 low income communties in the region" 3 of those communities are in the suburbs and another is in a suburban locale within the city limits. They have every intention of expanding to serve the suburbs. Granted most of the locations they are eyeing are rail stations but it's a start. They've even started talking about what they're going to call "Philly Car Share" when they branch out across the river.

    I personally think that Car Share will be much more succesful in NJ than it is in Philly - esp. in the typical Jersey railroad suburbs. Because the towns still have basic conveniences within walking distance and the train affords access to employment but it's still not as easy to get around with out a car as it is in the city. With insurance what it is, the cost of owning a car in NJ is outrageous. Having a car share location could become a big selling point for a lot of rail towns.

    In the suburban case it's marketed here to households looking to transition to a one car household where one or both wage earners can take transit to work - as well as neighborhoods with large student populations.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by jresta
    Insurance is included in the cost of rental so there's no need to carry your own.
    Now I am sold!!

    I just forked out a small fortune for insurance renewal. The rates went up in Floridaa and I dont even use my car that much since I live and work in an urban area adn wwlk alot.

    BRING ON CARSHARE!
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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