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'WeCar' coming for downtown Raleigh residents

Posted July 19, 2010

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— There are many reasons to move to Raleigh, but two stand out for Shannon Sorenson: It's two hours to the beach and three hours to the mountains.

Coming from Boulder, Colo., she bought into the buzz about living downtown.

"Just looking around, we really wanted to be in downtown," she said. "This just seems to be the place where it's all happening."

But before she and her boyfriend buy a new car, they are weighing their options for getting around, including a new concept expected to hit the Capital City.

It's called "WeCar."

Downtown resident Brian Reece helped persuade Enterprise Rent-A-Car to bring the idea to Raleigh.

As more people move downtown and more retail options become available within walking distance, Reece believes some residents will decide to get rid of their vehicles and use the service only when they need one.

"I don't have a car, probably, 98 percent of the time," said Reece, who lives and works downtown. "If you look at the expense – getting gas, paying the taxes on it – all of that doesn't equate."

'WeCar' driving into downtown Raleigh 'WeCar' driving into downtown Raleigh

As a member – he pays a yearly $50 fee – Reece says he can use an online reservation system and rent a car by the hour. The car can be picked up from one of two downtown locations – one on West Street and a second at Enterprise Rent-A-Car on McDowell Street.

"Instead of getting a taxi and going to Point A and Point B and it being $45, I can go to (Points) A, B, C, D, E – and probably within an hour – and it's going to cost me $10," Reece said.

Enterprise says it will take about 50 people to support one of the cars.

With downtown's population expected to top 14,000 residents in the next few years, the company likes the odds enough to try out the WeCar in Raleigh.

"It's quick. I like to be able to drive myself," Sorenson said. "The cab's not going to wait for me outside the grocery store. I like to have that option."

10 Comments

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  • doxiegrl Jul 21, 2010

    what if i want to take the dog to the park?or you are a smoker?do we have to pay more sepending on specific usage?

  • mpheels Jul 20, 2010

    There is a similar program called ZipCar that's been around in other cities for years. I own a car, but I walk and use the bus to save money, so I only drive about 15 miles a week. If my car wasn't already paid off I would definitely use this service. To put it in perspective, suppose you live in downtown Raleigh and want to meet friends in downtown Durham for dinner but don't have anyone to carpool with. I know from experience that a cab ride like that will cost about $65 plus tip ($130 round trip). The annual fee plus 3 hours of use of the WeCar costs $80. So, one dinner outing a year makes the annual fee worth it. Now throw it a trip to Home Depot or Sam's Club every few months, and it's definitely worth it.

    mtadish - you get to the car using good old foot power. The whole concept is based on high population density. The cars "live" in an area where most users will only have to walk a block or 2 to get to them.

  • cary1969 Jul 19, 2010

    once you pay by the hour, yearly cost, and gas charge...might as well use a cab.

  • turkeydance Jul 19, 2010

    with i.d. theft ubquitious, how about:
    1. a criminal "get-away" vehicle?
    2. revoked license or uninsured driver?
    3. basic of all...drive away and don't come back?
    all forms of i.d. have been faked.

  • mtadish Jul 19, 2010

    A great idea if you love your time-share. Who drives the car to you and how do they get back once you have it? I don't get it. Do you drive and pick up the next renter and they drop you off or does the rental agent drive people around--just like a cab driver?

  • Tax Man Jul 19, 2010

    This would be a great service for all of Raleigh, Durham, CH - makes lots of sense and economy. Could help the traffic problems as well. Car poolers could use it too.

  • lorivalentine1 Jul 19, 2010

    Cool idea if you have thoughtful clean people using the system..

  • vigorlady Jul 19, 2010

    Those of us in North Raleigh could also use this service. I don't have a car for many of the same reasons these people don't. And, I can walk to a shopping center to get the basics I need. But, it would be great to rent a car for an hour or two each month for other purposes - since Raleigh has such a lame public transportation system.

  • Seenenuff Jul 19, 2010

    Inventive. Hope it works. By the way, a cab will wait for you outside the grocery store but it'll cost ya.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Jul 19, 2010

    Had that in NYC. Its pretty cool. Be interesting to see how it works out here.