Daily Breeze Makes a Pitch for Bike and Car Sharing

3_11_09_dc_bike_share.jpg3_11_09_zip_cars.jpg

In an editorial earlier today, the Daily Breeze, a newspaper covering the area between LAX and the Harbor, praised the city for moving ahead with a car sharing program and studying bike share.  In its own words the Breeze made the case for shared vehicles and managed to do it without calling supporters communists:

With a down economy, people throughout the Los
Angeles region are looking for ways to cut costs and save money. Now
the city of Los Angeles is working on programs to help folks do that –
through the concept of sharing cars and bicycles…

…The program is designed for urban residents who
no longer want to be burdened by the costs of car ownership, which
include fuel, financing, maintenance, insurance and related taxes.
These folks would use a combination of public transit and car sharing
to go about their daily lives. They can reserve a car online or by
phone in 10 minutes. And with a membership, they can quickly check out cars whose keys are stored in their glove compartments.

After similarly praising and explaining bike share, the editorial then ventured into Streetsblog territory by calling on the city to reduce its take home vehicle fleet and invest in car sharing for downtowners and government offices.

For example, instead of financing city-owned cars
for council members, why not just offer them paid Zipcar memberships
and access to bikes when why need to travel around the city? After all,
if the idea is good for average residents, it should also apply to city
employees and elected officials as well, especially when budget cuts
are on the horizon.

Is a movement growing to begin to truly pare down the fleet of vehicles that are treated as private property by city employees?  When Mayor Villaraigosa proposed cutting the size of the executive car fleet in 2008, the response was horror and outrage from City Council Members who claimed they were really concerned about the environment.  With the city and state in a full budget crisis, and with a recession slamming Southern Californians the response from our elected leadership might not be so tone deaf it the idea comes up again.

Photos: Sally M and jm3/Flickr

  • I’ve been trying to model a bike-share service for large employers and I think I can get it down to $130/month for a bike (as a service), training for employees, and a bunch of important extras.

    That may seem like a lot, but those city cars ain’t cheap! I figure that this would also be a great way to lower emissions on a $/employee basis (you know air quality laws being what they are).

  • I am excited about carsharing so much I started my own. LAXCarshare is getting ready to launch this Winter 2010 and are focused on the permanent resident as opposed to Zipcar, who primarily operates on college campuses only.

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