Guest post by Alexis Bullen, eGo CarShare
Denver has an increasing amount of options when it comes to getting around, from carsharing and ridesharing to light rail and biking. While there have never been more options, eGo CarShare, as a nonprofit carsharing organization, is unique in what it can offer.
One challenge to shared mobility that eGo can help tackle is the goal of equity and access for all. Being a nonprofit means that we not only run a full scale carsharing service with 50+ cars, but we also receive grants to do things like bring carsharing to areas which might not be particularly profitable.
For example, eGo CarShare was awarded a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant through the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) for 2014-2015 to create “Multi-modal Toolkits” for residents in various affordable housing neighborhoods in Boulder and Denver. Partial matching funding was provided by Mile High Connects and The Denver Foundation.
eGo partnered with Boulder Housing Partners (BHP), Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver (HFHMD) to provide select households with significantly subsidized monthly transit passes, free carshare memberships with discounted usage rates, free or discounted B-cycle memberships and/or access to pool bikes, and education about the multi-modal transportation options available to them. These public-private partnerships make it possible for us to provide not just carsharing but also greater mobility options to low-income areas.
Round-trip carsharing also helps to significantly ease parking demands as studies show each round-trip carsharing car replaces 9 -13 personally owned vehicles.
Denver has made it possible to increase the visibility of all carshare services through its progressive on-street parking policies. These regulations have allowed us (and other carsharing services) to have designated on-street parking spaces, reserved specifically for our cars, something which does not exist in all cities. Having designated spaces on-street builds awareness of carsharing and therefore increases the number of people who use carsharing, because they see how convenient it can be and how easy cars are to access.
Round-trip carsharing also helps to significantly ease parking demands as studies show each round-trip carsharing car replaces 9 -13 personally owned vehicles. This is because carshare members rely on a shared car rather than have their own or are able to get rid of a second vehicle while maintaining flexibility. Thus as vehicle ownership decreases, less space is needed for parking.
Participating in shared mobility is becoming an ever more viable option for people in Denver and beyond. eGo CarShare has over 50 locations in Denver, Boulder and Longmont and we hope to eventually expand to other surroundings communities, though population density to support carsharing and the relative newness of the carsharing concept can be challenging in new areas.
eGo CarShare only requires two years of driving history and a valid license (which does not have to be in-state or even from the US) to apply for membership, making it a great option for college students, people visiting from other countries or others who wan a vehicle occasionally to get around. With no annual fees and carsharing rates starting at just $4.50/hour + $0.33/mile, including gas and insurance, sharing a car with eGo can also save a lot of money! AAA estimates in its 2015 study [PDF] that it costs $7,606 a year to own your own car - you can afford to regularly use a LOT of other mobility options for well under $633/month without losing your flexibility and freedom and you'll never have to deal with the hassles of car ownership.
Round-trip carsharing is meant to complement, rather than compete with, other mobility services like transit and bikeshare, creating even more transportation options as carshare locations expand around the city and beyond. Fewer cars on the road means less congestion, less emissions, improved environmental quality and better quality of life for communities - all goals eGo works toward as a local nonprofit.