Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Will Car Sharing come to the Capital Region?

I've got a friend who throws ideas around with me... most of the time we talk Albany City politics and quality of life issues facing the folks in our neighborhoods.

Sometimes though, our conversations head in an entrepreneurial direction, we dream that American Dream. We consider ways we might strike it rich.

When our conversations sway toward making money, my friend's husband affectionately refers to us as "Lucy and Ethel". He's got a point, we probably aren't destined to be big money makers.

Now, here's an idea for a business that Lucy and Ethel are not going to start, but somebody really should.

Open a car sharing business in Albany. (To learn about car sharing, click here or here)

Click here for a guide to help you get started.

Between all the college students, the price of gas, and those of us who don't have cars -- car sharing is a business that has got to be lucrative. I mean look at this headline from a Zipcar press release:

In Wake of High Gas Prices and Low Car Sales, Zipcar Grows 100% During Past 12 Months

New Survey Shows Americans Ditching Cars at Record Pace

Read the whole release by clicking here.

Car sharing would also be an innovative service to contract to non-profits who serve people without cars, but who need a car for errands from time to time.

Car sharing, however would not be a viable option to get folks to work every day at those places where public transportation is currently lacking, places like...
CDPHP and Gutptill's Arena.
For that, we still need better public transportation planning and the funding to support it!

And you probably wouldn't want to drive the car you're paying an hourly rate to use to drive to the Altamont Fair and leave it parked there while you play for hours. Will CDTA provide service to the Altamont Fair this year? Last year, the fair nixed bus riders with a last minute no-service announcement... so far this year, I've heard no news of whether buses will be taking folks to frolic at the fair.

But hey, our friends in our "sister city" of sorts, Austin, Texas have got it right... they have an organization called: liveable city: Quality of Life for All of Austin that unanimously passed this resolution in 2006 for a pilot car sharing program. (I recommend reading the resolution in its entirety, they make a good case for a non-profit car sharing pilot program in Austin.) It looks like Austin CarShare is doing well, and is non-profit; leading me to think if you want to make your million, don't open a for-profit car sharing business in our region because a non-profit will be more likely to stay local, provide lower prices and serve the community better!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you are absoulty right. And NYC announced today the thought of bike sharing!!! Which is something I thought the city could use years ago.