Car Sharing… Coming to Buffalo
Following post submitted by Creighton Randall, Board Member of Green Options Buffalo.
Just in time for $5.00/gallon gas, an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to auto ownership is soon to be introduced here in Buffalo. The concept is car sharing: urban dwellers become members of the program and access a car around the corner from their apartment, loft or house when they need it, allowing them to run errands such as trips to the grocery or the doctor's office at a fraction of the cost of car ownership. With the total cost of owning a car averaging 71 cents per mile (AAA), car sharing is a cheap and convenient alternative.
The most recognized version of car sharing is the national for-profit company ZipCar (founded in Boston) but several forward thinking cities like Austin, Philadelphia, Ithaca and Boulder, Colorado have recently formed locally focused non-profit initiatives with much success. In Philadelphia, PhillyCarShare has 50,000 members and operates a fleet of nearly 500 vehicles, more than half of which are hybrids.
Here in Buffalo, the concept has been gaining momentum over the last several months and a group of Buffalonians are taking the idea forward under the auspices of Green Options Buffalo. According to one of the team members, Michael Galligano, "Our analysis has led us to focus on Elmwood, Allentown, and the Lower West Side initially, but with success, we could expand our scope to other neighborhoods from there."
While Buffalo may be smaller than some of the other cities where car sharing has been successful, that doesn’t deter these folks, “We’re planning a visit to Ithaca Car Share, where they’ve just launched operations. If they can do it in Ithaca, we can do it here” says Galligano. Indeed, car sharing seems to take off in mixed-use urban areas that attract environmentally conscious types. While it might not seem so at first, the service actually makes people drive less and some members even give up their cars – PhillyCarShare members own nearly 13,000 cars less than they would have without the service - just one more reason Buffalo Car Share may be coming to a corner near you!
The team reminded us that Buffalo Car Share is a not-for-profit initiative, and relies on volunteers to turn this vision into a reality. As the venture is still in the start-up phase, there are plenty of exciting ways to get involved. Those interested should contact the Buffalo Car Share team at BuffaloCarShare@gmail.com.
The Buffalo Car Share initiative is another component of Green Options Buffalo adding upon its award winning Recycle-A-Bicycle youth program and Blue Bicycle; its current bicycle sharing program, as a mechanism to advance healthy, environmentally sustainable, community friendly transportation in Greater Buffalo.