AUSTIN, Texas -- The Austin City Council voted to move forward with the negotiation and execution of contract with two city-wide car share providers, building on an existing relationship with Austin-based Car2go LLC, and partnering for the first time with Zipcar Inc., of Cambridge, Mass.
Once completed, the 36-month agreement, which includes a 24-month extension, would make Austin the first city in the nation to partner with two car share providers, Car2go and Zipcar.
This initiative, called "Car-Share Austin," is expected to support the city's growing density and regional transportation network. The focus will be on central Austin, downtown, and the neighborhoods surrounding the state capitol complex and the University of Texas. The City of Austin Transportation Department issued a Request for Proposals and Car2go and Zipcar responded.
As part of a possible agreement, the car share companies will lease on-street metered and un-metered parking spaces, plus off-street parking spaces on city-owned property. These spaces will be identified and dedicated for the exclusive use of the car-share vehicles.
Each city department will have the ability to opt into the car sharing program by enabling employees to have access to the program. About 1,200 city staff members are currently active users of Car2go. In addition, the public will continue to have access to the expanded car share program through individual memberships.
Car2go, Daimler's smart car car-share initiative that originated in Germany, first launched in North America in 2009, as a pilot program for Austin city employees. It later expanded to other local government testing partners. In May 2010, after successful pilots, Car2go opened its service to the public. Solar roof-equipped Car2go vehicles are the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid cars on the road today, according to the company website. Car2go's additional linkage with public transit hubs and downtown MetroRail stations offer "on-demand" fuel-efficient mobility options complementing public transportation.
Zipcar came to Austin in January 2011, after it partnered with the University of Texas Parking and Transportation Services to provide a car sharing program to faculty, staff, and students. Each Zipcar takes at least 15 personally-owned vehicles off the road, according to Zipcar's website.
SOURCE: Austin Transportation Department