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Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Council approves a two-and-a-half year one-way car share pilot program

Berkeley, California (Thursday, December 01, 2016) - The City of Berkeley is accepting applications for companies to operate one-way car share, which allow members to pick up a vehicle in one location and drop it off somewhere else.

Under the pilot program expected to begin in Berkeley in early 2017, members would find vehicles using a mobile application or website and generally pay by the minute. Gas, maintenance, insurance, parking and the rental fee are typically included in the price of the vehicle rental.

The average car parks 95% of the time, but there is limited space for parked cars.. One-way car share can more efficiently use cars and the curbs they park at, while reducing demand for individual car ownership. In Seattle, one-way car share vehicles are typically parked for one hour or less before being used by a different member. Studies have shown that every car sharing vehicle removes between 9 and 13 other vehicles from the road. Members either sell their car or avoid buying a car they had planned on before getting a car sharing company.  

In the process, the pilot aims to add a 24-hour, transportation option for short trips. That could be as simple as a ride to BART for work, from your office to dinner, or to a grocery store. The car wouldn't have to stay unused while eating, working or shopping and the curb space could be freed up by the next driver.  

Transportation costs are often the second or third highest cost for low-income Bay Area families. One-way car share offers access to vehicles at a lower cost than owning one. Companies have different pricing levels, but typically cars can be rented for 35 to 50 cents per minute.

In addition, the City of Oakland is also conducting a one-way car share pilot program, allowing car share organizations to create broader, more regional travel options for Berkeley residents, visitors, and commuters.

Council approved the pilot program on October 18, 2016. City staff will provide a one-year update to City Council and will produce a definitive report two years into the program's operation to determine whether to implement a permanent program.

Less than one percent of the City's available parking is expected to be used by one-way vehicles. The first company to show interest in operating one-way car share in Berkeley, for example, has a target of 10 vehicles per square mile in the low-lying areas of Berkeley. Once in operation, this could put a shared vehicle within a 5 to 15 minute walk of most residents.  

Other cities with one-way car share include Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Austin, TX; Washington, DC; and San Diego, CA.

Interested car sharing organizations can now start the permit application process. See the City's One-Way Car Share webpage for more information.


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