Monday, January 14, 2008

Enterprise is first Car Rental Company to Offer Car Sharing

It's finally happened - the first US car rental company is getting into real carsharing. Enterprise is getting its fleet wet in the carsharing pond close to home. The WeCar carsharing service will launch on January 21st on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis with 4 Priuses and 2 Ford Escape hybrids located at 4 stations. (Technically, the WeCar is operated by Enterprise Leasing division.)

It appears to be full carsharing, not hourly car rental which Enterprise car rental offers in several other cities. Rates include gas and insurance. Hourly rates are $10 per hour for the Prius, $12/hour for the Escape. 200 miles per day is included with excess mileage charged at 20¢ per mile. Overnight use of the vehicles is a flat fee of $15 and night period starts at 6 pm and ends at 8 am. Daily rates are $60 and $75 respectively.

WeCar be accepting membership down to 18 year olds, but a signed parental waiver for 18-20 year olds.

The in-vehicle electronics and reservation are provided by Invers. Members will use a key fob for access and a PIN number will be required to start the vehicles.

The project is the result of a long-term effort by St. Louis advocacy group Citizens for Modern Transit. Other partners include Pyramid-Spinnaker LLC, Lofworks, Syndicate Building, Trivers Architects, Lawrence Group 1 Inc., Downtown St. Louis Partnership and Washington University. (Some early reports suggest that partners will be able to join WeCar at some point, as well.) Enterprise Rent-A-Car is headquartered in St. Louis and had more than $9 billion in revenue. Washington University in St. Louis is a private teaching and research university. They are expected to announce downtown locations soon.

Other countries where car rental companies operate carsharing services include Hertz in Denmark, Avis in France, as well as regional car rental companies in Austria and Singapore.

The Washington University press release is here.
The WeCar website is here.