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Philly CarShare Helps City Government Reduce Its Fleet

car_share_philly.JPGThe Philly CarShare program (Motto: "Why own when you can borrow?") is one of the most successful of its kind in the country. Currently in its fifth year, the Philadelphia-based non-profit recently surpassed 30,000 members and is generating $10 million annually to pay for a small staff, the purchase and maintenance of a fleet, and a reduction in rates when possible.

Started by two city planners, a community activist and an investment banker, Philly CarShare's goal is "fewer cars clogging streets and lungs." Yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

One of Philly CarShare's advantages is the relationship it has with local government. In 2004, it awarded Philly CarShare a contract that allows multiple departments to share cars, and then frees them up at night and on weekends for use by city residents.

As a result, Philadelphia was able to sell off 329 vehicles. Since the program started, the estimated saving in lower insurance costs, less use, and less abuse is $6 million, according to Jeff Friedman, a consultant for the city's Office of Fleet Management.

Nationally, Sheehan says, studies show that each shared car takes six to 10 private vehicles off the road. Factor in the number of car purchases postponed or canceled, and the number jumps to about 25.


Photo: Jonathan Wilson

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