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Archive for Thursday, July 18, 2013

New car-sharing program available downtown

July 18, 2013

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This Kia Optima located in a city parking lot on the west side of New Hampshire Street near Eighth Street is available for residents to rent by the hour.

This Kia Optima located in a city parking lot on the west side of New Hampshire Street near Eighth Street is available for residents to rent by the hour.

Thanks to a new car-sharing program in downtown Lawrence, residents now have a new option for getting around without using their own vehicle.

The silver Kia Optima now stationed in the city parking lot on the west side of New Hampshire Street near Eighth Street is available for any resident to reserve and drive at an hourly rate, through a program run by the Hertz car rental company.

“It’s a pretty neat system,” said Eileen Horn, the city-county sustainability coordinator. The car is available as of today, she said.

The city brought the car downtown with the cooperation of Kansas University. KU has already had four Hertz On Demand cars on campus since January 2012: two near the Kansas Union and two near the residence halls on Daisy Hill.

Another car in Lawrence is located at the Grove Apartments complex at 4301 W. 24th Place.

All the city has to provide for the program, Horn said, is one parking spot, which is now marked by a Hertz On Demand sign. Hertz owns and controls the car.

Use of the car requires a membership, which people can sign up for at hertzondemand.com for free. Residents can reserve the cars online, and they use a small key fob device, delivered through the mail, to access the car.

“Car-sharing and bike-sharing programs have been really effective in larger cities,” Horn said, “and although we’re not a large city, we do have some of those components.”

For instance, she said, the city has a concentrated number of people near downtown, including a lot of college students.

She said she hopes the service might appeal to riders of the city’s transit system who get off downtown, KU students or perhaps people who commute downtown by biking or walking but would like a car nearby for occasional use.

Horn said the system is in a pilot stage for now, and more cars may be provided if residents use the service.

At KU, about 575 members have signed up to use the Hertz cars. That’s in line with the company’s target for the program, said Margretta de Vries of KU Parking and Transit.

The rate, de Vries said, is roughly $8 per hour plus tax, though it can vary.

The goal for the city, Horn said, is to reduce emissions by encouraging residents to get around without using their own vehicles.

Comments

Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 5 months ago

This is a great idea. It's been happening in San Francisco for several years.

It could take off "big" in Lawrence.

Now, there also needs to be a bike-sharing program.

chicago95 1 year, 5 months ago

Tie it in to Amtrak ridership by advertising at Sante Fe Depot?

Currahee 1 year, 5 months ago

I think this will be interesting to see how well it works out for a smaller city/college town. I know when I went to school a lot of students didn't have cars nor did they need to drive them often.

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 5 months ago

Sustainability? I thought that wasn't legal anymore in KS.

Food_for_Thought 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm curious if these cars have ignition interlock devices on them? Just wondering how long it'll be before one of these winds up in someone's yard.

lawrencian 1 year, 4 months ago

Yes, you have to have a membership card and a reservation in order to unlock the car for use.

gabhan 1 year, 5 months ago

It's a good idea in principle but I could not, in good conscience, drive a car with Missouri plates.

lawrencian 1 year, 4 months ago

The cars at KU have New Mexico, Kansas, and Kentucky tags, too. Who cars what the license plate says -- all you have to say is "it's a rental".

d_prowess 1 year, 5 months ago

They have had this program on campus for students all year and I have heard of nothing but great things about it.

frador 1 year, 5 months ago

The last time I checked, the taxis in this town cost between $8.00-10.00 PER STOP. This is far more cost effective than a cab.

jack22 1 year, 5 months ago

I'd rather see a bike share program. This town is small enough that you can get just about anywhere on a bike, unless we're talking about way out of town, like where they're building the new recreation center.

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 5 months ago

Lawrence is not that small, it is really spread out, and where do you put the groceries on a bike? What if you have small children that need to go with you? A bike is just not practical transportation for most people.

jack22 1 year, 5 months ago

You put the groceries on the rack in the back. Children can ride their own bikes or they can be pulled in a cart behind your bike.

gatekeeper 1 year, 5 months ago

You have to keep in mind that not everyone is young and healthy and can just hop on a bike and ride for miles. I ride my bike frequently short distances, but have a bad kneee and can't ride for too long. Sure as heck won't when it's this hot!

I'd like to see you get the groceries for an entire family on a bike rack, then drag along your kids on their bikes. Let me film it so I can get it on America's Funniest Videos.

There are good reasons for cars.

jack22 1 year, 5 months ago

I actually do most of my shopping on my bike, but I'm not shopping for an entire family. You're right, that would be a funny video, you could record all the pissed off drivers honking and giving me the finger for riding a bike packed with groceries.

lawrencian 1 year, 4 months ago

As a member, using hertz cars on campus since they arrived 18 months ago, I have only good things to say about it. Very handy to add the flexibility NOT to have to find a car to borrow for things like the occasional trip into Kansas City (i.e. the airport, etc) -- I would spend about the same amount filling the gas tank of a car I borrow as I would on the per hour rental rate.

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