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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA adds car-sharing to transportation offerings


Commuting by train is convenient, but what do you do when you need a car after you get there? In most cases, people just drive and forgo transit. Now Washington commuters have another choice.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s board Sept. 20 awarded a contract to Flexcar for a car-sharing demonstration that will make available a limited number of cars at or near Metrorail stations for customer use 24/7, beginning this fall.

"Car sharing is a unique opportunity that would be beneficial for someone whose travel doesn’t have to be done entirely by car, but can combine transit and automobile travel," said WMATA General Manager Richard White in a prepared statement. "The program is meant to be an extension of Metrobus, Metrorail and the regional bus systems."

Contract terms call for 22 Honda Civic four-door sedans to be parked at or near 12 Metrorail stations throughout WMATA’s region. Next year, additional cars would be added to these sites, and cars wold be placed at nine more stations. After 16 months, 82 cars would be available; after 28 months, 200 cars.

Program participants would reserve a vehicle by phone — or, eventually, through the Internet — to have a car available at their station of choice, then would pay both an hourly rate and a per-mile fee for the vehicle’s use. The fee would cover all costs, including gasoline and insurance.