Zipcar Inc., the world's largest car-sharing network, along with Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, announced Nov. 10 a significant expansion of the Zipcar car-sharing network, as well as a new regional office, making Los Angeles officially Zipcar's 16th major metro market.

"We're already seeing adoption trends and usage patterns similar to our other major markets, and with the increased number of vehicles, technology enhancements and a consumer base driven by smart consumption, we think L.A. will become an excellent car sharing city over time," said Mark Norman, president and COO of Zipcar, at a Nov. 10 launch event.

Zipcar has offered car sharing on the campuses of University of Southern California (USC) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) since 2006, and has been steadily building out its service area in the broader Los Angeles area since 2009, when it partnered with the city for a pilot program for on-street parking spots in the neighborhoods surrounding both schools.

The pilot was expanded in December 2010 to include the addition of Zipcars in on-street parking spots in the Hollywood area.  (Click here for a recent article on L.A. expansion and for a report on an August 2011 Zipcar study.)

Zipcar now offers more than 125 vehicles throughout the city, including those in Hollywood and vehicles located on and near local university campuses, including Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, USC), UCLA, University of California, Irvine (UCI) and Pomona College. It will open its new office early next month.

"In addition to replacing car ownership entirely for most people, Zipcar is the perfect 'second car' for two-driver households who need access to a second vehicle only part of the time," Norman said. "Zipcar complements other modes of transportation like walking, biking and public transit, and with the average cost of car ownership in L.A at more than $9,500 per year, we provide a convenient, cost-saving alternative."

Gas, reserved parking spots, insurance, roadside assistance and up to 180 miles per day are included in the hourly and daily Zipcar rates. Cars can be reserved for as short as an hour or for up to several days. Rates on all vehicles start as low $8 per hour or less than $70 per day (24 hours). 

From the magazine — Car-Sharing: Grading the College Campus Market