The Hermosa Beach City Council tentatively agreed to participate in the South Bay Regional Car Sharing Program, Car2Go.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Car2Go Businesses Development Manager Walter Rosenkranz presented the nine-city, 350-car rent-by-minute “Smart” car program in the South Bay. The program, which would span a 40-mile geographic area, distributes vehicles throughout the area and allows members of the program to rent them for as long or as little as they want. When they are finished, members leave the car at their last destination.
South Bay Cities Council of Governments Executive Director Jacki Bacharach, who has spearheaded the car-share program for the Beach Cities, said she believes that Car2Go is the right fit for the area. According to Rosenkranz, each Car2Go vehicle on the road removes up to 15 cars from the grid, and most families in the area have a second vehicle specifically for short distance trips.
“Most South Bay trips are less than five miles,” said Bacharach. “Their model fits our travel patterns.” She theorizes that because of the usability of Car2Go, many families will be able to get rid of their second car.
According to Rosenkranz, the program begins with a one-time fee of $35 and is made to be as user friendly as possible. The user receives a key card and pin number to open the vehicles and is subsequently charged $.38 a minute for usage. The cars are located throughout the community and picked up on the spot, where the last user left it. It has been implemented in nine cities in North America, including Portland and San Diego as well as nine cities in Europe.
“We need a second car for two to ten hours a month,” said Councilmen Michael DiVirgilio. “We want to sell our second car, but we don’t have a way to solve that two hour gap… this could be the answer.”
All council members but Peter Tucker supported participating in the program. One important point of contention was the infusion of vehicles and the possible parking strain that could have on the city. Council members voted to participate in the program but before authorizing permits they will bring the item back to council to discuss possible designated parking spaces.
“I haven’t heard anybody come out with a better solution yet,” said Mayor Pro Tem Kit Bobko. “I would be willing to give this a shot and see if it will work.”