From: ENN
Published October 11, 2005 12:00 AM

Flexcar Launches Car Sharing Service in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — Flexcar has expanded its carsharing service to San Francisco, becoming the first carsharing company to offer service throughout the state of California, along the West Coast and across the country. Seventy-five percent of its fleet in San Francisco will be environmentally friendly Honda Civic Hybrids.


Flexcar started carsharing in the United States. Since 1998, more than 30,000 members in seven major metropolitan areas have enjoyed the freedom of having a car without the cost and hassles of ownership -- including never having to pay for gas, mileage, parking and insurance. Communities are realizing the benefits of reduced congestion, air pollution and energy use, while increasing use of public transportation and contributing to sustainable communities.


Flexcar members now have on-demand access to a fleet of low-emission vehicles stationed throughout the City. Members reserve the vehicles via the Internet or phone for $9 an hour -- a fee that includes gas, mileage, parking and insurance.


Initially, vehicles will be clustered in the City's downtown Financial District and, over time, placed in numerous neighborhoods, including North Beach, Civic Center and Pacific Heights.


"With gas prices more than $3 a gallon, downtown parking at $25 a day and insurance rates off the charts, Flexcar's $9-an-hour rate is a real bargain," said Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL and the majority owner of Flexcar. "What's more, especially in congested areas, car sharing is a responsible choice -- and Flexcar's fleet of hybrids will help reduce pollution and fuel consumption," Case added.


Last month, Case's investment firm, Revolution Living LLC, was joined by Lee Iacocca, former Chairman/CEO of Chrysler, in buying a controlling interest in Flexcar. Their investment is fueling Flexcar's nationwide expansion, starting with San Francisco. Flexcar seeks to have 20,000 vehicles available to members nationwide within five years.


"Car availability is critical to successful carsharing. Our goal is to have a car available within a two-block walk of where our members are, starting with the downtown Financial District in San Francisco," said Lance Ayrault, Flexcar's president and CEO. "There's zero doubt that the Bay Area represents the biggest market opportunity for carsharing in the U.S., and we're excited to give residents and businesses another choice."


Carsharing is proven to reduce congestion and auto emissions, making it an environmentally-sound choice. Flexcar goes the next step, by offering a fleet that consists largely of fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles -- and then by planting trees to offset the minimal carbon emissions of that fleet through its partnership with American Forests.


Since launching the U.S. carsharing industry in 1998, Flexcar has won numerous awards and commendations for reducing congestion, air pollution and energy use, and increasing use of public transit while contributing to sustainable communities. Research from Flexcar as well as independent entities has clearly shown that carsharing programs take cars off the road, reduce annual miles traveled and increase the use of public transit. These studies indicate that roughly 60 percent of members have either sold or decided not to purchase a vehicle because of the program, thus removing thousands of vehicles and thousands of tons of emissions from circulation.


More information is available at www.flexcar.com.


Flexcar founded the U.S. carsharing industry and now operates carsharing programs for more than 30,000 members in seven metropolitan areas, covering 37 cities in 5 states and the District of Columbia. Flexcar's fleet includes sedans, gas-electric hybrids, and specialty vehicles, including pickups, AWD, minivans and convertibles. AOL Founder Steve Case and auto industry legend Lee Iacocca are investors/owners of Flexcar.


Source: Business Wire, Flexcar


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