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L.A. to expand Zipcar vehicle-sharing program around UCLA, USC

The city plans to add 12 hybrids and SmartWay-rated vehicles to the existing fleet. For a fee, students and residents can use the cars to get around.

September 18, 2009|Tiffany Hsu

Zipcar: the leaner, greener solution to the Los Angeles traffic tarantula?

City officials seem to think so. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council members have paired with the Massachusetts company to expand an existing car-sharing program around UCLA and USC.

Adding 12 hybrids and SmartWay-rated vehicles to the 14 Zipcars already at UCLA and the 16 at USC could limit traffic congestion, cut back on exhaust fumes and emissions, and keep drivers from circling aimlessly while looking for parking spots.

The schools are among the five largest of the 130 campuses nationwide that host Zipcar.

The company says each Zipcar helps remove between 15 and 20 personally owned vehicles from the road. Customers say they drive 40% fewer miles, increasing public transportation use by nearly 20% and saving more than $600 per month on transportation costs.

Two new vehicles will be located at each of the following locations:

* 32nd Street and University Avenue

* West 29th Street and Orchard Avenue

* West Adams and Portland Street

* Midvale and Rochester avenues

* Roebling and Levering avenues

* Strathmore Drive and Landfair Avenue

Students ages 18 and older and Los Angeles residents 21 and older can pay $8 per hour or $66 per day during the week, or $9 per hour or $72 per weekend day, to go shopping, pick up groceries, go on road trips and more. New members currently receive $50 worth of free driving in their first month.

Reservations can be made at www.zipcar.com/LA. The fee includes gas, insurance and roadside assistance.

City officials hope to expand the program to the rest of the region.

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tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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