Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the start of the City’s first-ever “car share” program for City employees, which allows employees at the Department of Transportation to share use of dedicated Zipcar vehicles for daily official business and those vehicles will also be made available to the general public on evenings and weekends. Under the one-year pilot program, 300 employees will share 25 vehicles, most of which are hybrids, which are housed in Lower Manhattan parking garages, through a contract with car share company Zipcar. The pilot could save more than $500,000 over four years in reduced costs for vehicle acquisitions, fuel and maintenance. The car share vehicles are reserved through a computer reservation system. The pilot program will be evaluated to determine the effect on agency operations, vehicle miles traveled, cost and the effect on parking in Lower Manhattan. If successful, the car share system could be expanded or implemented by other agencies. The pilot program, conceived by the Department of Transportation, is a component of a citywide initiative led by Deputy Mayor Goldsmith that is testing a variety of initiatives to reduce the number of City vehicles and reform fleet operations. Mayor Bloomberg ordered City agencies to reduce non-emergency, light-duty vehicles by at least 10 percent last year, which resulted in the sale of 750 City vehicles. The Mayor announced the start of the car share pilot in near a garage participating in the pilot in Lower Manhattan where he also was joined by Zipcar President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Norman.
“Earlier this year, we announced a large-scale effort to make City government smaller, smarter, and more sustainable – both environmentally and fiscally,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “An important component of that effort is looking at City-owned cars. A car share program could help reduce the number of cars we use, cut our costs, free up parking on our streets and reduce the congestion on our streets and the pollution in our air. It’s another example of how we are constantly working on new ways to deliver better services at a lower cost to the taxpayer and to the environment.”
“We are reviewing every facet of the City’s vehicle operations and the car share pilot is one of many initiatives we are testing to reduce the size of the City’s fleet and reduce the cost to maintain the vehicles we need,” said Deputy Mayor Goldsmith. “The City took a great first step last year by selling off 750 cars, but we have to go further and we will.”
“Car share is an innovative way to do more with less and address the City’s environmental and fleet-reduction goals,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “This strategy helps meet those goals while opening up curbside parking, and by letting the public use the same cars that we use, it helps stimulate the Lower Manhattancar share market.”
“It is becoming more evident that the ‘one car, one driver’ model is broken. Individuals, businesses and municipalities are pursuing transportation options, such as Zipcar, that will reduce the need for cars in the city and alleviate traffic, parking and pollution concerns,” said Mark Norman, President and Chief Operating Officer of Zipcar. “We applaud the City’s commitment to find more efficient transportation solutions that will positively impact the economy, the environment and the future of urban development.”
Under the pilot program, car-share vehicles – owned and maintained by Zipcar – will be stored at several private garages in Lower Manhattan, reducing the number of City vehicles using on-street parking. After 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and throughout weekend hours, the vehicles used by the Department of Transportation will be made available for public use by Zipcar, providing more New Yorkers the opportunity to benefit from car sharing. The Zipcars will be available to the City employees in the pilot from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, though only five to ten of the cars will be available during morning and evening rush hours, to encourage employees to drive at times when the roads are less congested.
The vehicles used in the pilot are 23 hybrid vehicles and 2 mid-sized vans and will be used by Department of Transportation personnel to carry out a variety of responsibilities related to the planning, operation, maintenance and repair of the City’s streets, sidewalks, bridges and other infrastructure, as well as to attend meetings not accessible by public transportation.
The Zipcar program is similar to rental cars, though vehicles can be reserved on an hourly basis instead of by the day. Registered Zipcar members make reservations via an on-line registration system for a set period and can select vehicles from any car share location with an available vehicle.
Employees participating in the pilot will make a vehicle reservation online, then retrieve the vehicle from the garage using a credit card-sized Zipcard, which they will swipe against the vehicle’s windshield transponder to open the door and unlock the engine.
Successful municipal car share systems in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia were reviewed during the creation of this program.
In July, Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Goldsmith announced and plan to consolidate and modernize City operations, including an overhaul of the City’s vehicle fleet management systems. Currently, nine agencies employ more than 1,500 employees who work on fleet management, and who repair vehicles at 126 shops, each with their own set of equipment, staff and parts inventory. The management plan will consolidate operations, utilize consistent practices citywide, establish performance metrics for fleet management and will reduce the overall number of City-owned vehicles. The plan is expected to save a minimum of $71 million over four years.
Last year, Mayor Bloomberg ordered all City agencies to reduce the number of light-duty, non-emergency City vehicles by at least 10 percent, which resulted in the sale of more than 750 vehicles generating more than $1 million in revenue from auto sales and an estimated annual savings of $2 million.