Photo: shinya via Flickr/CC BY
New York City has just become the biggest city in the nation to launch an effort to clear congestion and reduce pollution by offering city employees access to a car-sharing program. The pilot program, helmed by ZipCar, only involves 25 cars and 300 employees, but it's a promising start. This alone will save the city $500,000 a year -- and that's just the pilot program. Here's the announcement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office, via Grist:
"Earlier this year, we announced a large-scale effort to make city government smaller, smarter, and more sustainable -- both environmentally and fiscally," said Mayor Bloomberg. "An important component of that effort is looking at city-owned cars. A car-share program could help reduce the number of cars we use, cut our costs, free up parking on our streets and reduce the congestion on our streets and the pollution in our air. It's another example of how we are constantly working on new ways to deliver better services at a lower cost to the taxpayer and to the environment."This is the most recent effort to wean the city's streets of its notorious congestion. Bloomberg has previously been a champion of the fantastic-idea-that-was-doomed-to-die that was congestion pricing -- that plan, however, got shot down in Albany. Perhaps the Zipcar-share scheme will fare better.
Last year, Bloomberg also ordered the city to cut its fleet by 10% (from its 26,000 vehicles), and subsequently ditched 750 machines.
And it's another good move for the rapidly rising Zipcar, which earlier this year filed for a $75 million IPO, and has around half a million subscribers to its services in the nation. Car-sharing is one of the most sensible and underutilized concepts in the nation -- Zipcar is helping to change that, but major municipalities participating in driving the trend will certainly speed the process.
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