Car-sharing can be made easy

PhillyCarShare lends vehicles to students looking for alternate transportation throughout the city.

PhillyCarShare lends vehicles to students looking for alternate transportation throughout the city.

For Temple students who live and work in the city, owning a car can be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Gas is expensive. Parking can be risky or outrageously overpriced.Picture 2

Maybe you’re environmentally conscious and would rather ride the subway than sit in traffic, belching fumes into the sky.

But you have to admit, it would be nice if you could get out of town on the weekends – breathe some fresh air, enjoy the great outdoors, visit a friend. Sometimes, it’s natural to wish you’d decided to bring your car to school, rather than let it sit at home in your parents’ garage.

Believe it or not, you can have a car.

Perhaps you’ve seen pods for PhillyCarShare, which offers prompt access to a fleet of vehicles on an hourly basis, peppering the streets of the city. And as long as you’re 19 and have your own insurance, PhillyCarShare is happy to toss you the keys.

The nonprofit sharing cooperative services Philadelphia and allows participants to chance to access a car whenever they want – without the stress of finding parking, paying for gas or dealing with maintenance.
Founded in 2002, its creators were five Philadelphian environmentalists who took their own money, a couple cars and launched their own market-driven environmental movement.

Their goal was to reduce automobile dependence by placing hybrids and low-emission vehicles across the city, so people wouldn’t have to own their own cars. Now, with more than 80 locations in Center City alone and hundreds sprinkled across Philadelphia, PhillyCarShare is revolutionizing the city with convenient, curbside access to vehicles.

Drivers pay by the hour, with rates starting at $3.45 an hour plus $0.25 per mile. Or, if you know you are going to be out with a car for a full day, you can pay a flat rate of $39. This price includes gas and premium insurance, so participants can drive worry-free.

Busy students don’t have time to waste hours online booking a reservation, but don’t worry. PhillyCarShare seems well aware that thousands of car-less college students reside within Philadelphia who need access to vehicles, whether it’s to run errands during the week or go on weekend excursions, and 80 percent of all reservations are booked the same day.

Once you join the PhillyCarShare community, you get your own key, which unlocks hundreds of cars parked along miles of curb across the city. Just make an online reservation, hop in the car nearest you, and drive off. It’s really that easy.

Since the company was created, 30,000 Philadelphians have traded their vehicles in for PhillyCarShare cars. Those combined participants drive 53 percent less miles, consume one million fewer gallons of gas and save $33 million annually. But the greatest part of this success story: our Philadelphia air is a little cleaner because of it.

Sierra Gladfelter can be reached at

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