Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Good Idea for Nashville?

I always thought this was a great idea, but I wonder how it would play out in a city like Nashville. The concept is car-sharing, and here’s how it works in Philadelphia.

The basic idea is instead of owning a car, and having to pay such things as insurance, maintenance, registration, parking fees, etc., you “share” one, using it just when you need it--for an hour or for the day. Unlike a traditional car rental service, you don’t have to go through some elaborate check in rigamarole at the airport. Vehicles are available 24/7 at dozens of “pods” located all around the city; you go online to reserve your vehicle (Philly Car Share says cars are often available on a moment’s notice), then go to the location and vehicle you selected and unlock the car with your personalized electronic keyfob.

Sounds pretty cool to me. What’s great is the variety of vehicles available: if you want to impress a client, rent a Mercedes! Need to haul a bunch of furnture? Rent a pick-up! Doing errands at a bunch of far-flung locations in town? Then a gas-miser like a Prius is for you.

It helps keep extra vehicles off the roads, and people drive less. However, I wonder if it would really work in a place like Nashville, where public transportation isn’t very user-friendly. It seems a better idea for cities like Philly, where there’s commuter rail, buses, and others ways of getting around for the daily commute.

Still, until Nashville gets better public transportation, there still might be a need for a car sharing service. Maybe some two-car households would do fine with one car if they had a service like this to fall back on. Just an idea.

((h/t, Atrios)