imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Flexcar: Public Car Sharing in Los Angeles

by kirsten anderberg Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005 at 8:11 AM
kirstena@resist.ca seattle, wa

Flexcar is a car sharing program that started in Seattle, Wa., but it is quickly spreading across America. You can now share hybrid cars with strangers in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego and more!

Flexcar: Public Car Sharing in 2005

By Kirsten Anderberg (www.kirstenanderberg.com)

Flexcar is a car sharing program that started in Seattle, Wa., but it is quickly spreading across America. Flexcar members pay a small initial fee to join, then reserve cars online, for use as needed. People pay by the hour to use Flexcars, and the fees are all-inclusive, meaning that insurance, gas, maintenance, parking, etc. are all included in the hourly fee. The hourly fees range from approximately .50 - an hour, depending on the membership package you choose. In Seattle, there are Flexcars all over town. You can often reserve a car for use within a block or two of your home, with only a few minutes notice.

I joined Flexcar in Oct. 2005 because there are times I need access to a car, but private car ownership seems so incredibly irresponsible at this point. I usually walk, bike, or bus, but there are certain times and chores that require a vehicle. For instance, moving is a time I need to access vehicles…and Flexcar has vans you can use in addition to passenger cars. Not too long ago, I needed to haul 2 computers somewhere simultaneously and I couldn’t do it by bus. And a taxi would have been very expensive. Waiting on friends for their help got old, and with Flexcar, I was able to pay for the hour and do the chore myself.

It is hard for my friends to find a place to park on the streets in my neighborhood when they visit me. If I owned a car, I would be in a parking hell anytime I wanted to use my car, upon return. But Flexcar has a permanent parking space one block from my home. When I use it, I can park it easily when I am done. The time and stress saved by that alone is worthy of note.

The first thing people want to know about Flexcar is how it works in actuality. You pay a membership fee. (I got a reduced rate due to my decades-old membership with the Puget Consumers’ Co-op…this comradery between car and food co-ops is a good idea). After registration, you are issued a membership card and pin numbers. You can then make a reservation online, specifying the car type and location, and the date and time period you want the car for, and then at that time, you go to the car. You place your membership card on a certain spot on the window, and it opens the locks on the vehicle doors. Once inside, the key is in the glove compartment with a keypad. You punch in your pin number and it then says, “Start the car.” You can then use the car like a normal car, except you have to key in your pin number every time you start it. Once done with the car, you park it where you got it, put the keys back in the glove compartment and lock the car up for the next user.

If the car is low on gas, there is a gas credit card in the car. You are given a gas pin number to use for the gas card. All gas costs are included in the hourly price. Every time I have used a Flexcar there was a near full tank of gas.

The car nearest my home is a hybrid. I feel good that I am not only sharing a car, but I am also sharing a hybrid. I am impressed at the way Flexcar functions like a choreographed dance. Not long ago, my son needed help with little notice. I went online to see about using a Flexcar and the one closest to me was reserved from 5 am to noon that day. So at 11 am, I was able to reserve the car for use from 1-3 pm. I saw someone later reserved it from 3:30 pm until 8 pm. So, three of us used that car that day. And two of us reserved the car that day, only hours before use. And it all worked out beautifully.

The billing process is very direct, as well. They send you a bill a week prior to billing, outlining hours used and fees to be billed. Your bank account is then billed for the hours used. For me, this later payment arrangement is useful For instance, if I have a far away gig in an out of the way place, I can use a Flexcar to get to the gig, get paid for the gig,and *then* pay for the transportation costs. I believe you can also use Flexcars between some states, such as Washington and Oregon, and I think you can also use them to go into Canada from Seattle, with permission from Flexcar.

There are certain Flexcars with deals attached to them. The cars near my home, for instance, have a deal where you pay for 10 hours and you get 24 hours. The online specials range from 5-10 hours payment for 24 hour periods. There is a membership option that includes free Flexcar privileges from midnight to 5 am as well.

I could not join Flexcar for a long time because it requires a credit card. Even now, I only have achieved a debit card, not a real credit card, but that was enough plastic to finally make Flexcar accessible to me. I do not like the way that set up locks out a lot of poor people. I am also very very concerned at the newest major investors in Flexcar. Within the last few months, a majority of stock in Flexcar was purchased by an investment group headed by Lee Iacocca and Steve Case, co-founder of Aol.com. This new investment launched a claim by Flexcar last month that the number of their cars would double in the Seattle area shortly. And a week or two ago, the front page of Flexcar.com had a headlining story about Steve Case coming on board with Flexcar, but now, there is no trace of anything mentioning it on their site AT ALL that I can find! That seems very odd. So, I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes at Flexcar, but the idea and product is a good one.

Flexcar has a program for low-income people. You can get an authorization code from your social worker and use Flexcars for necessary trips, such as job search, childcare transportation for work-related things, etc…and the hourly fee for these trips, from what I can tell, run the driver about an hour, with all costs included. Flexcar long ago partnered with city, county and state officials in Washington state and thus the Flexcar system is actually integrated as part of the public transportation system, in ways, at this point, in Seattle.

There are approximately 4 Flexcars within half a mile of my home in Seattle, and about 10 more within 1-2 miles of my home. I have never been unable to reserve a nearby Flexcar for use when I have needed one, whether that reservation was made a week or an hour in advance. I have only had trouble with a Flexcar once; it had trouble taking my pin code to start. I called the Flexcar phone number, a person answered immediately and the problem was fixed within less than 5 minutes. I have to applaud that type of service.

Flexcars are available in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago and Wa. DC. This seems to be a viable, working model of public car sharing and it is a good direction for us to be taking as a society. Private car ownership seems to be a relic creature of a past American oblivion. Mass transportation, bike culture and public car sharing of hybrid and biodiesel cars are the direction of the future. Cars, running on oil, are not ideal. But if we are going to have them, sharing them is better than not sharing them. I grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s in Los Angeles where every woman, man and child had their own car. Flexcar and car sharing is a totally different mentality and it is long overdue. Flexcar has some class obstacles, and some corporate alliances that are alarming, but Flexcar is also showing people a new way to think about and interact with important transportation issues, and for that, I have to give them props.



Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy