Car sharing rental-by-the-minute poised to take off

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Feb 20 2014 07:31:00 PM HST

Car sharing programs that allow drivers to rent a car by the day gain popularity and look to expand into the Hawaii market.

HONOLULU -

For the last year and a half, Enterprise has been piloting a short-term car rental program at University of Hawaii Manoa campus.

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz's report.

A white Chevy Volt is part of a small fleet of cars that one Waikiki resident has taken advantage of.

 "I have used the one at UH and have used car sharing in San Francisco, and Portland and have had really good experiences," said Asia Yeary. Club members get access to the cars around campus.

But right now, members pay a $3 rental surchage fee each time you get behind the wheel.

It's the same fee if members rented a car for a whole day.

One bill now before lawmakers would create a separate class and fee for short-term rentals.

"Part of the issue is, can we implement a pro-rata system? But we all agree that short-term users should a get discount off the three dollar fee," said Enterprise representative Gary Slovin.

 Car2Go, which has set up shop in 35 cities across the globe, is preparing to make the move to Hawaii.

It offers what it calls a free-floating network using apps, and a fleet of cars in a geographic area.

"It's on demand, by the minute, and there's no reservations. People pick up a car in the home area and drive it as long as they want, and drop it off in any home area,” said Michael Mikos. development director for Car2Go.

Car2Go uses windshield readers and a system where users register, get a card and a pin code.

"You put in your pin code you grab the key and you drive where you need to go," Mikos said.

 "It is really the perfect transition as Honolulu brings on light rail and bike-share. It just becomes a natural fit to allow residents to get around with the high-cost of parking and the ownership of a car," said Mikos.

Car2Go says it costs customers about 41 cents a minute to rent one of its smart cars.

"I have a lot of friends who don’t have cars so I think this is perfect opportunity," said UH student Russell Seashore

Whether it’s Enterprise, Car2Go or Zipcars, car sharing is preparing to take off.

House Bill 1894, a car sharing vehicle surcharge bill cleared the House finance committee Thursday and is headed for a floor vote.

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