Wednesday, June 25, 2008

At Long Last Ithaca Carshare Launches

Welcome to the newest carshare in North America, Ithaca Carshare which went into service ttoday. It has had probably one of the longest gestation periods of any carshare, struggling against major hurdles and New York state's arcane laws to get vehicle insurance.

The launch press release says they will be launching with 6 Nissan Versas and adding a pickup truck soon. Vehicles are spread out in downtown Ithaca, Fall Creek, Collegetown, on the Cornell University and Ithaca College campuses, and at EcoVillage (see current map).

Ithaca offer two membership plans:
• "Just In Case" plan with a $50 per year membership fee and usage at $7.95 per hour and 20¢ per mile
• "It's My Car" plan with $20 per month membership and usage at $4.95 per hour and 20¢ per mile. This plan offers "1 hour free" and includes two drivers.

They're able to accept drivers over 18 (with proof of other insurance coverage) and 21 or older, who have been driving for at least 2 years and have a good driving record (no vehicular manslaughter, excessive speeding, excessive disregard for red lights/stop signs, reckless driving or driving under the influence).

Ithaca Carshare serves a major college town in upstate New York and has arrangements with Cornell University and Ithaca College for special promotions, typically free usage or reduced price memberships for staff and students.

Ithaca expected to launch in the fall of 2007 when they were close to a deal with Flexcar to handle their vehicles and insurance. The demise of Flexcar in the merger with Zipcar ended those hopes. This is likely a better arrangement.

Congratulations to Executive Director Jennifer Dotson and all the others who helped make this a reality! May your phone be silent at night and busy during the day!