City of Chicago Partners with Zipcar, Incorporates Car-Sharing Network with Existing Fleet

Looking to increase its efficiency and improve sustainability, the city of Chicago has partnered with Zipcar Inc. to turn its existing car fleet into a self-service, car-sharing network, according to an article by Government Technology.

Under the arrangement, the city of Chicago uses its own vehicles and pays for insurance and gas, but also has the ability to pick from Zipcar's shared pool of cars, which are located at stations across the city. The program is fully hosted, with all hardware and software for the city-owned vehicles installed and managed by Zipcar. All a city has to do is continue to operate and maintain its car fleet.

The integrated program could save the city of Chicago hundreds of thousands of dollars in transportation costs over the next several years, according to a statement released by Zipcar.

Michael Serafino, general manager of Zipcar's FastFleet program, explained how the program was implemented in the city of Chicago. "Employees are to look [online] for a city car first and if there are none available at the time and place where they want, they are given a link to find a Zipcar," Serafino explained. "[This way] they can lean their fleet as much as possible without negatively impacting employee mobility. Their blend is the best of both worlds."

The city of Chicago combined Zipcar's FastFleet sharing technology program together with Zipcar4Business (Z4B), the program that allows businesses to utilize Zipcar-owned vehicles outside the city-owned vehicle fleet. The FastFleet software package is connected to hardware in city-owned cars that allows the company's reservation system to work.

When using Z4B, government officials and employees will be able to reserve a Zipcar vehicle as they need it, with the city paying only for the time the car is actually used.

Jonathan Gonsky, general manager of Zipcar Chicago, said in a statement that by the end of this spring, Zipcar anticipates making more than 500 Zipcars available in the city of Chicago for citywide government use - including 75 cars stationed downtown.

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