By Anna Bakalis, 9/16/2010
Pilot Program for USC, UCLA Expands to Hollywood
The Los Angeles City Council this week approved bringing a car-sharing program, known as “Zipcar”, to Hollywood.
The council voted Tuesday unanimously in favor of the rent-by-the-hour car service, hoping the success at nearby universities will transfer to bustling city streets.
If the pilot program is a success in Hollywood, it could be expanded throughout Los Angeles, transportation officials said. Zipcars could be available in Hollywood within the year.
People who don’t have a car or could use a second car for a few hours are the typical clients who use the service, particularly to run errands or to take a drive out of the city, according to a staff report.
The expansion of the program is based partly on the success of Zipcar on campuses and the surrounding neighborhoods at the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, where there are 18 Zipcar locations. UCLA and USC are among the more than 130 campuses nationwide that partner with Zipcar.
The Zipcar service is planned to be a part of new transportation alternatives that will help reduce parking demand and congestion in Hollywood, officials said.
City Council President Eric Garcetti, who represents the 13th District, is a strong proponent of getting people to use cleaner transportation through “innovative transportation alternatives,” said Yusef Robb, the communications director for Garcetti.
“Parking availability in proximity to mass transportation is key to successful car sharing,” Robb said
The web site, www.Zipcar.com, will tell members what cars and times are available. When a reservation is made online, a confirmation e-mail is sent. The site calculates the approximate cost that will be billed to your credit card when you use the car. The typical hourly rate starts at $8, which includes insurance, gas, and mileage. Cars can be rented up to several days.
The council approved a contract extension with Zipcar, Inc. for one year. By the end of that year, Bruce Gillman, spokesperson with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, said there will be 10 parking spaces available for Zipcars, and drivers won’t pay meters or parking fees.
The car share program is successful in San Francisco and New York, but has yet to prove itself in Los Angeles, a city that still gets around mainly in their own cars.
“We have a car culture. But city officials would like to get people to use alternative modes of transportation,” Gillman said.