Charlotte has launched a two-year car-share pilot program with Boston-based Zipcar, the city announced on Friday.
Six Zipcars are now available for reservation in on-street spaces in uptown and South End and six at residential properties, city officials said.
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Car-sharing services are becoming more popular. Zipcar has a presence in more than 500 North American cities and towns, said Katelyn Chesley, Zipcar public relations manager. .
Unlike traditional car rental companies, Zipcar lets users take out a car by the hour, making it easier for people to go without a car. It’s also quicker to rent the car on short-term notice.
A ribbon-cutting event is scheduled for noon Tuesday at First Ward Park, 500 N. Brevard St. Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Charlotte Center City Partners CEO Michael Smith and Zipcar General Manager Vilaire Lazard plan to speak at the event.
Through the Zipcar service, potential users go through five steps: create a Zipcar account at www.zipcar.com, reserve a car, unlock it with a “Zipcard” or with the app, drive and return the car to its original spot.
Hourly rates start at $7.50. Drivers also pay a one-time $25 application fee and a $70 annual membership fee.
The cars are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for for people 21 and older, or for people 18 and older if they are registered students. Users have to be pre-approved.
The user is allocated 180 miles of driving a day. The hourly fees pay for gas as well as insurance.
Zipcar has more than a million members, with over 12,000 cars in cities and towns. The company was founded in 2000 and was bought by Avis Budget Group in 2013 for $500 million.
Zipcar already has a small presence in Charlotte with one spot at Element Uptown apartments, one spot at UNC Charlotte and with service at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The company also recently launched at Davidson College.