Local News

Car-sharing program unveiled in downtown Raleigh

Posted July 21, 2010 10:55 a.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2010 2:55 p.m. EDT

— 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.