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Minneapolis Car Sharing Pilot Program is Growing

[See the video of this story on kstp.com.]

Jill Bernard is in the process of reserving an “HourCar.”

“What’s nice about this neighborhood is that if this car is not available there’s probably 2 or 3 with walking distance that are,” Bernard said.

Bernard says, it’s all about convenience.

“For someone who has always relied on public transportation you’re always watching the clock. With HourCar if I need to stay longer I can call them,” Bernard said.

HourCar is the first car sharing program founded in the Twin Cities. They have 57 vehicles parked at 53 hubs throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. Your range is unlimited, except the longest reservation is three days. Mary Morse of the “Neighborhood Energy Connection” which runs HourCar says it’s all about savings.

“It cost about $8,500 a year to own a car and typical HourCar members are spending $100 a month and that includes gas and insurance,” Morse said.

So here’s how it works, first you have to become an member. Monthly membership fees are either $5 or $15. You need to be at least 18 years old and have a relatively clean driving record. Once you’ve done that you can reserve a car online or by phone, 24 hours a day.

Bernard says, she hasn’t owned a car since 2007 so she’s always been on the lookout for transportation.

The Minneapolis expansion means the city will 23 on-street parking spaces and two dozen off street parking spaces. Right now Car 2 Go is providing a fleet of 250 smart cars. ZipCar will add an additional 40 and HourCar an additional 28.

There is no city funding in this expansion and all three companies will pay the city for each parking space.

By Todd Wilson, KSTP