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HOURCAR Announces 30 Car Expansion

A sampling of HOURCARs available to members.

HOURCAR announced a major expansion today. The Twin Cities homegrown car-sharing operator will increase its fleet to at least 70 vehicles over the next 18 months, extending service to as many as 3,500 users in diverse Minneapolis and Saint Paul neighborhoods. Funds for the expansion were provided by the McKnight Foundation and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.

HOURCAR, a nonprofit business that was founded in 2005, currently serves 1,900 car-sharing members in the Twin Cities. Its members have access to 39 late-model, fuel-efficient vehicles for personal use. HOURCAR calculates that its members can save as much as $5,000 each year by avoiding car ownership.

“Most HOURCAR members compute the costs and headaches of car ownership and wisely choose to forego buying cars—or at least keep their households to one car,” reports Chris Duffrin, executive director of HOURCAR’s parent organization the Neighborhood Energy Connection. “They get around really well on foot, by bike, and on the bus or train, but when they need a car they have HOURCAR. It’s an easy and convenient way to take care of those occasional trips that might be hard using other modes.”

The new HOURCAR hubs will be located in transit-friendly, residentially dense neighborhoods in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. New cars and trucks will be placed in service beginning this month and continuing until all 30 are in position.

According to the McKnight Foundation’s president Kate Wolford, “HOURCAR proves that car sharing can increase our choices in how we live and work. McKnight has invested in this vision since 2007, and we’re pleased now to support HOURCAR’s expansion along key corridors in Minneapolis and Saint Paul where housing and transportation affordability are well aligned. Hitting a triple-bottom line, HOURCAR’s nonprofit model is economically successful and environmentally sound, and also extends open access to a broad and growing member base that embraces our region’s full range of transportation options.”

Polly Talen, Saint Paul Program Director, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and co-chair of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, was equally impressed. “HOURCAR is a high-tech, high-touch solution that extends the value of our growing transit system. Our group was particularly excited about HOURCAR’s plan to locate new hubs at key Green Line LRT stops. Because HOURCAR helps people save so much money, it contributes to all kinds of wealth retention success stories. When they’re not spending money on car ownership, people have more money for housing, for health care, for school, really for everything. HOURCAR is great for the people of the Twin Cities and we were pleased to help expand their network.”