The latest city to jump on the carsharing band wagon is Seattle. The city has signed up with ZipCar to provide on-demand short term car rentals in the hopes that more of the city's 10,500 employees (Seattle has 10,500 employees?) will access the cars when needed for city business. Sixty ZipCars will be set up at garages and on-street parking spots within 10 blocks of city hall. Employees can use the cars for either city business or personal use with the usual setup of gas, insurance and maintenance being covered.
[Source: ZipCar]

PRESS RELEASE:

Zipcar Partners with City of Seattle to Extend Benefits of Car Sharing to City Employees

Zipcar Delivers 'Wheels When You Want Them' Through New Downtown Storefront Location

SEATTLE, Feb. 5 -- Zipcar, the world's largest provider of cars on demand by the hour or day, today announced a partnership with the City of Seattle providing all city employees access to its cost-effective, convenient and environmentally friendly car sharing service.

The partnership extends the benefits of car sharing to all 10,500 individuals employed by the City of Seattle, enabling City employees to take alternate transit to work and know they have access to a car at the office for personal or business trips. Within just 10 blocks of City Hall, more than 60 Zipcars reside in nearby garages and on-street parking spots. As always, Zipcar rates include gas, insurance, maintenance and 180 free miles per day.

"By offering car sharing, we're providing more flexibility and making it easier for city employees to choose mass transit, walk, bike or use other transportation alternatives," said Mayor Greg Nickels. "It is another way Seattle is encouraging more climate-friendly commutes."

Offering Zipcar memberships serves as an effective addition to the City of Seattle's Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program, which encourages employees to leave their car at home and instead use public transit, walk, bike or carpool to work. The city currently offers a $72 monthly transit subsidy to encourage its employees to not drive to work. More than 3,500 city employees already take part in this commuter benefit.

"This partnership gives City employees the freedom to choose from the region's wide variety of alternative transportation options for their commute to work," said Carla Archambault, General Manager of Zipcar Seattle. "Zipcar is a perfect complement to the City's national leadership efforts for emissions reduction, sustainable development and smart growth."

The partnership is borne out of the fact that car sharing programs increase public transit ridership and decrease vehicle ownership and vehicle miles traveled (VMT).In a 2008 survey in Seattle 50 percent of respondents said they increased their public transit usage since joining Zipcar. National surveys conducted by Zipcar consistently show that more than 50 percent of members sell or avoid buying a car, and reduce vehicle miles traveled by nearly 40 percent. In Seattle, this represents an annual reduction of 2,623,620 gallons of gas and 25,449 tons of carbon dioxide.

Opening of New Office in Downtown Seattle

Coming off one of the highest growth years in company history, and in planning for continued growth, Zipcar also announced it has relocated to new offices in downtown. The inviting, walk-in style of the new 2,700 square foot office makes it convenient for individuals to meet the Zipcar team, get answers to their questions, and/or pick up their Zipcard. Ironically, the new offices are at 380 Union Street -- space that was previously occupied by the Washington State Department of Licensing.

"The opening of our new downtown office makes it easier than ever for existing and prospective members to meet the Seattle team, and learn about the benefits of car sharing," said Archambault. "In addition to our partnership with the City and our new office, we're seeing strong demand from both businesses and consumers who are seeking convenient, cost effective and environmentally friendly transportation alternatives."

To commemorate the grand opening, Zipcar will hold an open house event today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its new office, where Seattle residents can stop in and join Zipcar for no annual fee, a savings of $50. New applicants and referring friends can spin a prize wheel to earn driving credit, ski passes and other goodies. The open house will also include complimentary coffee and donuts in the morning, and cookies throughout the afternoon.

About Zipcar

Zipcar is the world's leading car-sharing service with 250,000 members and 5,500 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout 28 North American states and provinces as well as in London, England. As a leader in urban transportation, Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to savvy city residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car in the city. For more information, visit Zipcar.com.


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