A pilot carsharing program is headed to Los Angeles, aiming to keep thousands of Angelenos in poor neighborhoods from purchasing cars of their own by providing publicly available hybrid or electric cars instead.
The program is a partnership between the city, the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, and the national Shared-Use Mobility Center, and it will be funded with $1.6 million from the state’s cap-and-trade system. Organizers hope to have the program running by the end of the year, though it still must be approved by the Los Angeles City Council.
The three-year program, announced Friday, will put 100 hybrid and electric vehicles and more than 100 charging stations in lower-income communities in central Los Angeles. The goal is to recruit as many as 7,000 carsharing users who will take 1,000 privately owned cars off the road, either by selling ones they own or by not buying new ones. That, in turn, could reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.
“I think one of the benefits for L.A. is since the air quality problems are so severe here, if we can replace trips in dirty, old vehicles with trips in zero emissions vehicles, then we’re ahead of the curve,” said Stanley Young, CARB’s director of communications. “Nothing like this on this scale has been attempted anywhere in the country.”
The Shared-Use Mobility Center plans to work with private car sharing companies, including Zipcar and Car2Go, as well as community organizations to help determine where the vehicles and charging stations will be located, and how much drivers will have to pay to use the cars.