Can you imagine life without the costs and headaches of car ownership? Since 2001, the Bay Area nonprofit City CarShare has made it possible for tens of thousands of Bay Area residents to give up their cars and still have access to a car when they need one. With new locations popping up in West Portal and Daly City, City CarShare is able to reach a larger demographic and give more people the option to be reduce the hassles of car ownership while improving the environment.
Now seven years strong, City CarShare’s fleet has grown to over 300 cars that are shared at more than 160 locations in San Francisco and beyond. City CarShare has been looking for a spot near the West Portal Muni station for years. “We have been a bit frustrated but we never gave up,” said Kelly Gilliam of City CarShare. “We tried every business, gas station, city lot and alleyway we could find to no avail for almost two years.”
Fortuitously, a community-oriented resident near the West Portal Muni station recently offered a prime parking space only a few minutes walk from the train and bus depot. Now, even City CarShare CEO Rick Hutchinson has access to a car near his home in West Portal. ”We live in one of the greatest neighborhoods in San Francisco and now we have access to car sharing, too,” he said. Westsiders want to help reduce congestion and improve the environment. Car sharing is part of the solution.”
Last August, City CarShare reached another new neighborhood, so Westsiders now have easy access to a car via Muni or BART. This “pod location” at the Daly City BART station serves the local neighborhood and public transit riders. Expanding near transit lines like BART – City CarShare is at or near 20 stations in the Bay Area - makes is easier for members to access any of City CarShare’s16 vehicle types. Now, people who need to go south of San Francisco can bypass traffic by taking BART to Daly City then pick up a City CarShare vehicle for the last leg of their trip.
The concept behind City CarShare is simple. It allows you to reserve and use a variety of unattended vehicles by the hour, whenever you need one. Vehicles can be reserved 24/7 for as little as 15 minutes or for days at a time. Member’s only pay for how much they drive and gas, insurance and maintenance are always included. Members reserve a car, get in and go. Once you’re a member, you have access to City CarShare’s entire fleet, which includes hybrids, trucks, capacity vehicles and even Mini Coopers.
With every City CarShare vehicle replacing up to 15 other cars according to a University of California, Berkeley study, city parking problems and congestion are decreased. City CarShare members drive less and increase their use of alternate modes of transportation like biking, public transit and walking. In fact, with more efficient driving habits, City CarShare members collectively saved 25 million pounds of CO2 in 2008. Not only is this convenient transportation mode eco-friendly, but it also saves members thousands of dollars each year. City CarShare members pay an average of $50 a month, compared to $600 to $700 a month that AAA estimates San Francisco car owners shell out.
Click below to see City CarShare locations (pods) near you.
West Portal: Claremont & Allston
Forest Hill: Portola & Woodside
Daly City: Daly City BART
When you sign up at www.citycarshare.org, before 3/31/09 use the promo code “WestsideObserver” on your application and $50 free driving credits!