WeCar, a car-sharing program by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, launches today in downtown Raleigh, N.C., providing the city's residents and businesses with a convenient, sustainable and cost-effective transportation option.

"Providing a car-sharing option to the residents and business community in downtown Raleigh is another step toward achieving our mission of supporting balanced and sustainable growth for downtown," said Mayor Charles Meeker. "Offering residents and downtown workers an efficient and convenient transportation solution through WeCar makes using other methods of transportation a more viable option for day-to-day commuting."

The WeCar vehicles, two Honda Civics, will be parked at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car branch at 431 S. McDowell St. and at 413 N. Harrington Street.

Based on the growth of the program and usage patterns of the cars, Enterprise anticipates that more vehicles will be added at convenient locations throughout downtown. Membership is open to all licensed drivers 21 years of age and older who meet the terms and conditions of use of the program. Additionally, the program - from application to reservation - is completely automated and can be done online.

"Affordability remains an issue for residents choosing to live downtown. Car sharing offers a cost-effective method of transportation, and allows many residents the option of foregoing the expense of owning a second car," said Brian Reece DLA President.

WeCar car-sharing vehicles in the United States are supported by local Enterprise Rent-A-Car business rental programs as well as by Enterprise's network of more than 5,000 neighborhood car rental branches.

Ann-Cabell Baum Andersen, owner of The Glenwood Agency, is sponsoring the initial WeCar launch. "I'm confident other downtown businesses will want to join me in supporting a car-sharing program that provides alternative transportation options for their employees," said Baum Andersen. "The people in the downtown Raleigh community have always supported my business and I wanted to give back to the community. What better way than to help launch a car-share program?"

In addition to downtown residents and employees, car-sharing can also be a solution for college students who do not have a car on campus or do not want to deal with the hassles and expense of parking. "We look forward to the growth of this program, and to working with local universities to bring WeCar to their faculty, staff and students," said Adam Schneider, regional vice president for Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Raleigh.

WeCar operates customized car-sharing programs throughout the U.S. and is currently providing programs for corporate campuses, universities and municipal governments in 17 states. Raleigh is the third WeCar program to offer open-membership; similar programs are in place in St. Louis and Nashville, Tenn.

"Based on our experience with dedicated-use car sharing, we anticipate there will be businesses and employees who are interested in developing a program of their own," said Ryan Johnson, assistant vice president, WeCar. "We've created similar programs in other markets, and we look forward to serving the needs of those in Raleigh as well."