Local News

'WeCar' coming for downtown Raleigh residents

Posted July 19, 2010 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated July 19, 2010 9:12 p.m. EDT

— 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."

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."