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Car-sharing program unveiled in downtown Raleigh

Posted July 21, 2010

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— City officials on Wednesday helped announce a new program that gives downtown Raleigh residents the option of sharing a car with others rather than owning one.

The "WeCar" program is aimed at those who live and work downtown within walking distance to many of the places they need to go but still need a car on occasion.

Program participants pay an application fee and a $50 yearly subscription and use an online reservation system and pick a car up in one of two downtown locations – one on West Street and a second at Enterprise Rent-A-Car on McDowell Street.

Rental rates start at about $10 an hour. Downtown Raleigh currently has two cars.

"Short-term car usage makes a lot of sense for folks living downtown," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "People are buying condos and not necessarily buying the parking spaces, so this is a good option, along with public transportation."

Car-sharing programs are already popular in other parts of the country, and WeCar provides programs for corporate campuses, universities and municipal governments in 17 states.

Downtown resident Brian Reece helped bring the program to Raleigh. He got rid of his car that he says he used only about 2 percent of the time.

"Instead of having that car sitting at another building and doing nothing, I can get rid of the car, which, I've done, and have the option to rent a car by the hour," Reece said.

The Downtown Living Advocates, which helped bring WeCar to Raleigh, has said it would eventually like to reach out to local corporations and colleges and universities about using the program.

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  • smalldogsrule Jul 21, 2010

    So, are the "wecar" pwople going to maintain a record of the insurance for their members. Will they be notified if their insurance lapses. Please don't tell me that the agency will carry the insurance, cause that would be WAY expensive. AND, you have to have active insurance to have a valid license in NC any way. I can see rates for this program going through the roof if it even makes it as a viable business.

  • mpheels Jul 21, 2010

    maydaymanny - similar programs have been quite successful in other cities. The people who use systems like this generally walk or use public transit, but sometimes you need a car for a few hours, usually when you're going to buy/pick up a larger item or shop at a store that isn't accessible by bus (i.e. a monthly trip to Costco). Say a person only needs a car one day a month for a couple of hours - normal rental will cost $480 over the course of the year if they pay $40 day, but WeCar will cost $290.

  • maydaymanny Jul 21, 2010

    $10 hr + $50 -essh. If you live in DT Raleigh you can walk to whatever you need and if you need a car you can rent one for like $40 a day or borrow a friends car. I could see like $5 an hour, but $10 is ridiculous. I do not think this will fly here. Maybe NYC :)

  • doxiegrl Jul 21, 2010

    Not everyone wants to or can afford to live downtown.Why would you want to live near bars and resaturants?.You still have to have a car to grocery shop or for most people,to go to work.I cant afford to rent or buy a condo..and I dont see the guy living in one of those condos working at the local watering hole.The city needs to come up with more affordable rentals and better public transportation..!

  • doxiegrl Jul 21, 2010

    I live near NC state.There used to be a city bus that ran right down my street.They moved the route because of the Hillsborough Street re-do.It doesnt make sense to move the bus lines to inconvenient locations.we need to make bus ridership simpler.

  • dwntwnboy Jul 21, 2010

    If a person lives downtown, the R-Line will take them right to one of the locations- for free!! Great idea- why have the hassle and expense of a car if you don't really need one?

  • doxiegrl Jul 21, 2010

    why arent we doing anything to make riding the city bus any easier.?there are no posted schedules,no bus shelters and irregular service.we need to get our priorities straight.!

  • doxiegrl Jul 21, 2010

    great.now i can park it in the bus lane on hillsborough street.There are maked signs that say bus lane.but there are marked parking spaces in the bus lane..what a mess!

  • durham_nc Jul 21, 2010

    I think the idea is that they are targeting people who live close by the rental place. You either walk there or take a bus.

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Jul 21, 2010

    So how do I get to one of these locations to start with? They need to deliver. There are car rentals in Europe where they deliver the car and the delivery person then pulls a small collapsible scooter out of the trunk and drives off back to his agency.

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