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City looking to partner with Hertz for on-demand car rental program in downtown
Soon a yellow and black sign likely will be prominently displayed to reserve a prime parking spot in downtown Lawrence.
No, Hell hasn’t frozen over and the city isn’t beginning to reserve parking spaces for Missouri Tiger fans. (Although, we ought to consider it. If a Tiger fan is willing to go to the trouble to take his car down off the blocks in his front yard, the least we can do is help him get a parking space.)
But no, that’s not what city commissioners will be contemplating tonight. Instead, commissioners will be considering a program to allow Hertz — and its yellow and black sign — to begin an on-demand car rental program in downtown.
Hertz has four cars that are part of an on-demand program on the KU campus. The program has been used enough that the company has an interest in placing a fifth car in downtown.
The program works like this: Hertz will have a dedicated parking spot — hence the sign, which, have I mentioned, is yellow and black — in the free two hour lot on the west side of New Hampshire Street near Eighth Street. (City lot No. 4, if you are scoring along at home.)
If you think you may want to use the car sometime, you sign up for the program and get a swipe card. Then, you can rent the car anytime online, swipe the card to unlock the doors, and away you go.
Eileen Horn, the city-county sustainability coordinator, worked to get the program in place for downtown because she thinks it may actually make people more comfortable using public transportation.
Horn said some people are nervous about riding the bus, biking or walking to work because they never know when they may unexpectedly need to use a car.
“If you have to run and get your child at school for some reason, you’ll have a car to do it,” Horn said as an example.
City commissioners are being asked to give final approval for the program at their 6:35 p.m. meeting today.
There are no fees for the city to pay to be a part of the program. The city, however, will need to donate use of the parking space to Hertz. The city is proposing a month-to-month donation agreement to monitor how the program progresses.
Horn said she expects the program could begin in two to four weeks.