Zipcar Inc. and the city of Baltimore, through the Parking Authority of Baltimore City, officially launched on Tuesday a car-sharing program with 22 new Zipcars parked in convenient locations across the city.
Zipcar's expansion to Baltimore was made possible by a partnership with the city and the Parking Authority which has dedicated 22 on-street parking spots as part of a plan to reduce congestion, emissions and parking demand, while offering citizens affordable personal transportation.
This partnership extends Zipcar's existing service at several Baltimore-area universities, including Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College and Towson University, bringing the total number of Zipcars to 45 in the greater Baltimore area. In addition to providing parking spaces, the city has committed to using Zipcar for employee transportation needs, allowing them to ride transit to work and use Zipcar for government business.
"With Zipcar and car sharing we are able to address two key priorities at once," said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "We offer our citizens a new way to save money without sacrificing mobility, and also address the challenges of reducing congestion, parking demand and carbon emissions. Car sharing is a smart policy choice that benefits everyone involved."
Zipcars will be available by the hour or by the day to members, who can reserve a vehicle online, via mobile device or touchtone phone. The fee includes gas, insurance, 180 free miles, parking in the reserved spot and 24/7 roadside assistance. Rates begin at $7 per hour and $66 per day, depending on the type of vehicle.
The initial fleet will include a variety of vehicles, including Toyota Prius hybrids, Tacoma pick-up trucks, Smart Fortwos, and Mini convertibles. Zipcar members can access any of the more than 7,000 Zipcars worldwide, including at every stop along the East Coast Amtrak line: Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
"The traditional 'car-centric' design of cities is beginning to give way to a more 'people-centric' design, and Zipcar is big part of that dynamic," said Mark Norman, president and COO Zipcar. "Zipcar is a smart choice for consumers looking for affordable alternatives to car ownership, and a smart policy choice for governments dealing with the pressing issues of congestion, parking and their carbon footprint."