Zipcar, the world's largest car sharing service, the City of Los Angeles, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC) announce an expansion of Zipcar's car sharing program on both campuses. Beginning Sept. 14, Zipcar will add 12 new vehicles in reserved parking spots on city streets in the neighborhoods adjacent to UCLA and USC. The pilot program was made possible by a partnership between Zipcar, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council and is intended as a first step toward a potentially larger expansion in the Los Angeles area.

"Los Angeles may be the car capital of the world, but through this partnership among universities, Zipcar and the City of Los Angeles we are opening the door to make car ownership optional for people who live or work here," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "Providing alternatives to car ownership will help improve the environment and the city's traffic congestion."

The expansion of the program is based on the strong success of Zipcar on the campuses of UCLA and USC, which are among the ten largest of the more than 130 campuses which partner with Zipcar across the country. Expansion of the program to local neighborhoods will bring the total number of Zipcars in the Los Angeles area to more than 40. The cars included in Zipcar's expansion will be an environmentally friendly mix of EPA Smartway-certified, hybrid and sporty vehicles.

"We like to say that a Zipcar is always just around the corner or across the street," said Mark Norman, president and chief operating officer of Zipcar. "Thanks to the city, that is now true for thousands of LA residents. We hope that becomes true for tens of thousands more in the coming months."

"Our partnership with Zipcar will give more people a real alternative to owning a car without having to sacrifice the flexibility of having one when they need one," said Eric Garcetti, City Council president. "This program will cut down on our carbon emissions, reduce our traffic congestion, and help the people of Los Angeles save money."

Convenient access to Zipcars on city streets is proven to provide benefits to local residents, taxpayers, and the environment. For residents, Zipcar helps reduce parking demand and congestion, as each Zipcar takes between 15 and 20 personally owned vehicles off the road. In addition, members report driving 40 percent fewer miles and increasing public transit use by nearly 20 percent, helping to reduce traffic congestion and emissions. Best of all, the average Zipcar member reports saving more than $600 per month on transportation costs.

"By making on-street parking spaces available to Zipcar, we make car sharing more accessible to more people," said Councilman Bill Rosendahl, chair of the Transportation Committee. "This program will empower the residents of Los Angeles with a new option to save money and reduce carbon emissions."

Zipcar vehicles are available by the hour or by the day to members, who can reserve a car via phone, online or a mobile device. A simple hourly/daily fee as low as $8/hour and $66/day weekdays, and $9/hour and $72/day weekends, includes parking in the reserved spot, gas, insurance, 180 free miles and 24/7 roadside assistance.

"I am very excited that our partnership with Zipcar will give more UCLA students options for local travel while helping to reduce the traffic impact around UCLA," said City Councilman Paul Koretz, whose district includes UCLA.

In addition to being able to access vehicles in Los Angeles, members have access to Zipcar's network of vehicles throughout the state, along the West Coast, across the country and around the world.

"There will be fewer cars in the North University Park area," said City Councilman Bernard Parks, who represents Council District 8, which includes USC. "The fact that people can share cars will cause a decrease in the need for more cars."