Taking Flexcar To The Next Level

If you’re not familiar with Flexcar, it’s a pioneering car-sharing company with growing operations here in Los Angeles and a whole bunch of cities around the country. The concept is this: you sign up for a membership and you basically have access to their network of vehicles parked wherever: downtown, USC, Hollywood, UCLA. Via their website or phone system you reserve a specific vehicle for however long you need it and then go pick it up wherever it’s garaged. After you return it, the appropriate rate is billed to your credit card. You don’t pay for gas, or insurance and there aren’t any forms and waivers to fill out. In short, it’s an awesome alternative.

I’ve been a member for awhile, and while I’ve only used their vehicles twice over the years (the first time way back in May 2004), I would certainly access their vehicle fleet more if there were more cars available and closer to where I work/live.

Well, an opportunity for that very type of expansion is presently on the table over at the city’s transportation committee in the form of a proposed one-year pilot program being considered that will designate specific on-street parking spaces be made available for car-sharing vehicles. Apparently it became state law this year allowing cities and counties to authorize certain streets or portions of streets for the exclusive parking of shared cars, and the transportation committee is meeting tomorrow to get public input and see if this is something worth moving forward on. As such, Flexcar’s calling for people to speak out in support of the program either by attending the transportation committee meeting tomorrow (October 24) between 5 – 7 p.m. at the West L.A. Municipal Building (West LA Municipal Building (1645 Corinth Avenue, 90025) or by emailing your opinion to Adam Lid, the Committee’s Legislative Assistant with a cc: to the Transportation Chair, Wendy Greuel (councilmember.greuel@lacity.org). If you do send an email, please refer to On-Street Car-Sharing Program in the subject heading.

3 Replies to “Taking Flexcar To The Next Level”

  1. We have on street parking of shared vehicles (both Flexcar and their competitor Zipcar) in DC and it’s fantastic. I use them to go to the supermarket once every two weeks or so. It costs about the same as getting the food delivered and it’s much more satisfying.

    Admittedly I’m a little bit spoiled as there’s a Flexcar parked in my building’s rear parking area, so the walk to the car for me is literally about three steps from my back door.

    Sadly, I’m not sure that LA is the perfect market for Flexar/Zipcar. It makes more sense in an area where most people don’t already have cars, but need them every once in a while for short periods of time. New York, DC, Boston, Chicago… areas where most people already rely on the pre-existing public transportation infrastructure. In LA most everybody already has a car and adding more cars to the mix doesn’t seem like it should be the highest of priorities. Sure, this could encourage the keeping of fewer cars in the region, but I have a hard time envisioning this having a serious impact on the per capita car rate in LA. It’s just too important for most people to have a car in LA. I’m a big fan of biking, but LA is just too big for it to be practical for most people.

    Whatever, I love my DC Flexcar.

  2. I concur on all points.

    I had a ZipCar account when it first opened in new York. (I still have my little card.) The last time I used it was when I made my final trip back to Los Angeles: I had just driven up from a city south of the Mason Dixon and had to get a car pronto to collect a number of things from points in Chinatown, Brooklyn and LES. Having had a ZipCar (and pardon me for sounding like a commercial, but any former New Yorker knows the eye-opening liability of owning a motorcar in the city, and SHOULD know the brilliant convenience of the ZipCar), I got a car off a garage less than a mile south of my first stop (on Water Street), and was on my way to Brooklyn before noon, to my final stop as well as the place where I was to drop off the car and be done with the damn thing. No parking hassles makes the cost of fuel (and tolls, depending on which way one is traveling) a breeze.
    I am only sorry that it is not in Los Angeles. The cab and car services out here just plain suck, and I have made it damn clear just how inept is the smart-less card cretins that “oversee” the MTA.
    I am sure to be one getting a Flexcar account. And I will be letting Wendy know she better get her ass in gear. (I ride the 90/91/169 to the library, which is right besides little Ms. Greuel’s office on Foothill Blvd, above the LAFD station and the most disgusting Vons anywhere.)

    Oh, and RumorsDaily: yours is a commendable site. Loads of great stuff and I look forward to digging in deeply.

Comments are closed.