The City of Los Angeles continues to miss the mark on carsharing

carshareBack when this websites owner started her Los Angeles based carshare program, LAXCarshare, she engaged the cities of Los Angeles, West Hollywood and transportation leader, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority (LACMTA) about starting their own carshare, utilizing their own resources.  Landscape activist, Glen Dake, posed this question on twitter today “Does Eric Garcetti have a big enough vision for L.A.“?  No, but here’s an idea he can have for free.

All of the above, with the exception of LACMTA, have implemented carshare programs in their city, and instead of starting their own, they opted to contract with Zipcar, aka Avis Rental Car, to provide service to a limited amount of city residents.  Most notably, the vendor City of Los Angeles awarded the permanent contract to, bailed on them.

Related article:  Hertz reneges on providing carshare services to City of Los Angeles

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds

The idea LAXCarShare brought to the table was for the cities to better utilize their current fleet, in order to create a new revenue streams, along with creating jobs for local residents, to address the LA county regions congestion issues.

Hopefully new LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds reads this blog and can envision how the city can make better use of their cars and get the ball rolling.  A city owned and operated carshare program does multiple things:

– Alleviates the need to select a provider;

– Removes need to privatize city parking spaces since the Streetsblog Network finds that method doesn’t work;

– Creates city jobs by having a department focused on providing fleet and member services;

– Utilization of Zipcar’s fleet management platform, which they lease to cities who want to run their own;

– A new revenue stream to continue providing city services

Related article:  The City of New Orleans just announced a partnership with Enterprise Rental Car

The best example of a self-sustaining, forward thinking carshare program, is located in Westwood, on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles.  UCLA was the first college in the nation, to implement an on campus carshare program, to compliment their successful Vanpool program.  The UCLA program is aptly called “BruinCar“.

Perhaps this author should have been considered for the LADOT GM position LOL.

10 thoughts on “The City of Los Angeles continues to miss the mark on carsharing

  1. Where to start on this?
    I agree, it is sad that the various jurisdictions (as well as universities other institutions) never have come together to make a combined pitch to a carshare operator. One would think that being a convenor would be perfect role for LA Metro. I think it’s very unfortunate that LAX Carshare lived and died in the cross-fire of good intentions.

    I’m only aware of one carshare in the US that ever used publicly-owned vehicles for a carshare program – Scoot operated by Kitsap Transit in Bremerton, Washington – they’re dedicated vehicles. In my experience, putting private individuals in the seat of publicly-owned vehicles after hours (the dream of some) seems to be a risk-managers worst nightmare. Even in Europe, I’m not aware of any cities with in-house carshare operations.

    I would imagine it could be very difficult for a government-operated carshare to avoid the interference of well-intentioned elected officials wanting to tell the staff how to run their business and which neighborhoods to serve, etc. But there’s no reason LA couldn’t be first. Perhaps your next calling is to run for elected office?

  2. Another comment: You cite Streetsblog Network as showing that privatizing on-street parking “doesn’t work” – yet the article you link to merely shows that there are some people in San Francisco that are unhappy about it. 10 years ago there were people in Washington DC who were unhappy about dedicated spaces for Flexcar and Zipcar, as well. Ditto in every other city that has ever considered it.

    I would argue that this is hardly a classic “privatizing” of parking spaces. Most cities have parking spaces that are reserved for truck loading, taxi stands, hotel zones, and, of course, bus stops – presumably because these are purposes serve the public interest. Hotels, trucks and taxis are private companies and likely pay for the use of that curbspace. I think there’s plenty of evidence that carsharing also serves the public interest and, in most cities after a trial period, the carshares pay for the curb space.

    So, currently, what we see is that cities and carshare operators where on-street parking is allowed have developed some sensitivity to the placement of these dedicated spaces.

    1. The other link highlighted was to an article showing privatization in Chicago didn’t work, the diagram with Chicagi stats is where that came from. Folks in San Francisco are upset rightfully so in that the only way they possibly obtain free parking is to enroll their personal car in a peer to peer program like Relay Rides or Getaround.

      1. The article you’re referring to is about privatizing parking METERS not the parking itself. I suspect we are in agreement that privatization of public resources is usually a bad idea, but, as I indicated above I think making spaces to available to bonafide carshares is a good decision. And, in this case, one that could easily be undone if the operator fails to live up to the agreement.

      2. City of LA was exploring removing meters for carshare’s until Hertz backed out. Now it could be a mute issue. Meter parking is how cities collect revenue, instantly. Waiting for a payment from a corporation leaves the city vulnerable to the A/P processing cycle.

  3. And finally, sorry to report but UCLA is hardly “first college in the nation” to have an on-campus carshare program. I believe that distinction goes to Wellesley College in the very early days of Zipcar. Flexcar also established several college partnerships shortly afterwards.

  4. I don’t know when the UCLA deal was first established but I don’t think Flexcar entered the LA market until 2004-5 (please correct me on this as you would certainly know). By that time they had cars on the University of Washington campus in Seattle and Portland State University in Portland. Sorry, it’s probably not even the first in California as I believe San Francisco State University may predate UCLA as well.

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