California’s South Bay area council proposes adding local use vehicles
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/23/2012 -- A proposal was at an El Segundo, Calif., City Council meeting to begin using a car rental service that employs “smart cars,” charges fees by the minute, and allows customers to pick and drop off the vehicle anywhere within the South Bay area of California.
Car2Go, a rental car company owned by automaker Daimler and launched in Europe four years ago, already has U.S. operations in Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore. The service, which allows users to find a car with a smartphone application, wishes to offer its service with the nine South Bay cities, which encompasses 35 square miles.
The rental company works on a membership basis, which is obtained by paying a one-time fee. Customers receive a card, which they use to open up ones of the “smart cars.” Once inside, the customer logs in to the onboard telematic system inside the car, the drive away. All costs, including gasoline, insurance, parking, and any other operational costs are included in the fees they pay, which will range from 39 cent per minute, $13.99 per hour, or $72 per day.
The service, which would make a total of 350 cars available approximately every four to five blocks, is getting assistance from the South Bay Coalition of Governments (COG), which is working to promote local use vehicles. The promotion is to increase the mobility of the local workforce and as a means of reducing air pollution.
Car2Go’s Business Development Manager Walter Rosenkranz told the council that the key to the business is the customer’s ability to rent cars on a short-term, point-to-point basis.
“You could pick up a car in El Segundo, drive to Redondo Beach or Torrance, end the rental and walk away and not have to worry about bringing it back to where you picked it up,” Rosenkranz said. “It’s another mobility option for people who may not have a car, or normally ride a bike or use other forms of transit. If they need to get to work when they don’t have a ride, we can provide that service.”
Rosenkranz added that Car2Go’s service allows people who otherwise are unable to have car transportation greater mobility, which aids the local workforce. It will also leave fewer vehicles on the road, thus helping reduce air pollution.
“Studies have shown that each car-share vehicle takes up to 15 personal vehicles off the road,” Rosenkranz said. “As people get comfortable with car-share systems, they see they don’t have to own a car. In areas where parking is at a premium and is expensive, and they don’t use a car that frequently, they are more apt to get rid of a car if they know they can get around.”
El Segundo Mayor Carl Jacobson lodged some concerns over potential parking issues. Car2Go would be responsible for parking fees owed to cities where applicable, but would require a waiver of and time limits in areas where such restrictions exist. Because of existing parking issues downtown, Jacobson wasn’t sure that would work for El Segundo.
“One of the reasons we have that time limit is we have so few spaces on Main Street and we need the turnover, so that presents a little problem,” Jacobson said.
The Council will consider the issue for final approval at a later date, following a complete review.
“We’ll be looking at it,” Jacobson said.
About Affordable Car Hire
Affordable Car Hire (http://www.affordablecarhire.com/cms/orlando-international-airport/) is an independent car rental broker that works with individual car rental companies to bring the best service at the best prices possible. Affordable Car Hire has more than 6,500 locations worldwide and works with leading car rental brands, such as Avis, Hertz, Sixt, and Europcar.
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