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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA begins auto-sharing program


Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Dec. 4 debuted a car-sharing program, offering a limited number of cars available 24/7 for customers to rent on an hourly basis.

Through a partnership with Flexcar, automobiles now are offered at eight Metrorail stations; an additional eight stations would offer a total of 28 Honda Civic four-door sedans by March. Between March 2002 and March 2003, nine more stations and neighborhoods would have vehicles available. After the program’s first 16 months, officials expect to have 82 cars available; 200 cars after 28 months.

Officials chose the locations and timing to ensure that all Metro-served jurisdictions would have access to the program.

Customers may make reservations for the cars by phone and, later, online to have a car waiting for their use at one of the designated stations. A monthly fee covers a set number of hours and miles, as well as other costs including gas and insurance. Frequent users would benefit from a tiered fee structure.

Flexcar, which has partnered with Parsons Transportation Group Inc., operates similar programs in Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/7/2001