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Less traffic? Zipcar welcomed to Baton Rouge, touted as a way to ease road congestion

Thursday, December 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shannon Stage
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In the ongoing endeavor to lessen Baton Rouge traffic, city leaders are encouraging drivers to share cars.

Wednesday, Mayor Kip Holden welcomed to downtown Zipcar, a company that provides short-term vehicle rentals and currently operates around LSU. The city's overarching vision is to provide alternatives to personal vehicle ownership — including car share, more bike paths and increased access to public transportation, such as the proposed downtown-LSU tram.

The city is providing the company parking spots for its vehicles at North and Fourth, Third and Florida, and Main and Third. A Honda Civic, Honda CR-V and Ford Focus are available for rent by the hour or day. A fourth car of undecided model will be added at Third and Florida once nearby construction ends. It isn't an exclusive deal, in case other car-share companies want to set up shop in Baton Rouge.

Car-share companies differ from traditional automobile rental companies because they offer short-term rentals as brief as an hour.

City leaders have expressed hope these short-term rentals could replace personal vehicles, or at least allow a family that would have typically owned two cars to scale back to one and supplement with Zipcar. The service would also have been helpful for residents who lost vehicles in the August flood, Holden remarked.

The rentals may also be used by tourists, said Davis Rhorer, executive director of the Downtown Development District. With about 90 riverboats scheduled to make port in 2017, many visitors may decide to make use of the program, he said.

Company officials have said that for the time being, users must return the cars to the designated spots, though if the program expands, Zipcar may be able to offer one-way trips.

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