Report: car sharing coming to the Capital Region. Sort of.

zipcar portland

A Zipcar in Portland, Oregon. The program at UAlbany will be run by Hertz, according to the ASP.

The ASP's Jon Campbell reports that car sharing is coming to UAlbany via partnership with Hertz.

Over the last few years we've heard a handful of people -- online and off -- express their desire for car sharing here in the Capital Region.

A company called Zipcar has apparently had success with the concept in other metros -- especially during the recession. Some cities, such as Chicago and San Francisco, have seen non-profit car sharing services pop up.

Rates for the service start at around $6.75/hour. It appears the non-profits tend to have lower fees than Zipcar or Hertz.

Wrote Paul Boutin about Zipcar in Slate a few years back:

Car sharing shifts a smaller number of cars into a much higher duty cycle. Economies of scale kick in for everyone--fleet prices for cars, corporate rates for fuel (there's a gas card on the visor of each car), group insurance, long-term parking bought in bulk. The company handles maintenance and washing, too.
But most important, car sharing turns members into automotive swingers, free from having to commit to one model. In the city, middle-class people own a nice car. Rich people own lots of them. Zipcar makes me feel rich.

We could see this concept working well on college campuses -- in fact, Zipcar says it already has operations at more than 100 colleges. We wonder if there would be enough demand here among the non-college set (Center Square, perhaps?). It'd be interesting to find out.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Transit-riding now Common Counncilwoman Leah Golby expressed her desire for car sharing

photo: Flickr user Jason Rodriguez


I think it's great that car sharing is coming to SUNY, and I definitely think Albany has the market for a more extensive car sharing service. I'd love to see more students who live off campus come to school without their cars. It would also help to have car sharing vehicles available in the parts of the city where many off campus students live (like the 10th ward) - it would ease up a lot of the parking issues here. Also, I think if we had car sharing for all residents in Albany there are many 2-car households who would give up one of their cars.

I will continue to advocate for car sharing, and I think the non-profit car sharing model is the way to go. It keeps the investment here in the community that's using the service, and as AOA has noted, rates tend to be lower with the non-profit model.

Meanwhile, I've spent today being wowed by D.C.'s bike lanes and bike sharing programs.

Albany needs a Gabe Klein.

A recall forced me to sell my truck back to the manufacturer nearly two years ago and I was heartborken but I was unknowlingly very lucky at the time. As things worked their way out my soon-to-be wife and I bought a house using money from selling the truck as part of our down-payment four our first home (hey a few doors down from Leah!) and we soon discovered - we don't need two cars.

No matter who I tell about our own car-split, people seem taken aback. "OMG, how do you manage? Isn't that so confusing?!" No, not at all! I've gotten adept at taking the bus, my bike, or walking where I need to since my wife has the car most of the time to commute back and forth to work. In nearly two years there's never been a time where panic has set in by need the car at the same time.

We save on gas, insurance, repairs, the little fees like parking and tickets, and the biggest plus of all - no car payment! It's liberating. Owning one car has improved out quality of life significantly.

There may be a great deal more households in the city that would like to, but just can't get over giving up a car. I think the carshare could be a way to bridge the gap.

Car sharing RULES! When I lived in Seattle there was Flexcar (which has since been taken over by Zipcar). Flexcar paid for the gas, which was HUGE. I loved being able to have a car for an hour or two or even an evening and to just return it to its dedicated parking spot and walk away. It is such a wonderful thing, especially in cities where parking is hard to find and the population density is more than the one driver - one car system can possibly bear. Seattle has horrific traffic (worse than Los Angeles). I have never owned a car. I always used public transportation or car sharing. This is great news for the Capital District. I really hope it expands beyond the University of Albany.

Oh please oh please oh please bring car sharing to Center Square!!! A neighborhood so utterly not intended for cars, in a city/region that's unfortunately so all about driving -- ZipCar (or equivalent) would be perfect!

Puhleez bring a car share program to Albany. Frankly, I would prefer zipcar over any other car share program for a few reasons. 1. You can simply because you can use your membership in any zipcar station throughout the US, Canada, and the UK.
2. They have already got it so synchronized the iphone, google maps, and they have cars that most car share programs can't compete with. Yeah, so I'm superficial, like that.
3. Wouldn't it be beneficial to have zipcar as a way to decrease the parking problems in Center Square? We would totally get rid of our car in Center Square if zipcar came to our area. I would no longer keep my car parked just holding a spot until street cleaning day came around.

I can't believe there are 14 other cities in New York State that have the program running and why is the state capital of New York not on that list?

Puhleez bring zipcar to Albany and if you do- please make sure its in Center Square.

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