By Deborah Schwartz, City of Santa Barbara Planning Commissioner
The new “sharing economy” is defined as “collaborative consumption as a phenomenon is a class of economic arrangements in which participants mutualize access to products or services, rather than having individual ownership.”1 Those are a lot words to describe what is part of a socio-economic paradigm shift. It is made possible due to virtualization and cloud services in the tech sector, and it is irreversibly changing our way of life.
I sat down with transportation experts, Rob Dayton and Peter Brown from City of Santa Barbara Transportation Planning, to discuss this paradigm shift and the new Carshare Vehicle Permit Program. The Program was enacted by the City Council after significant research to determine community interest, contracting with Zipcar after vetting their track record and flexible capacity to ramp up and down the number of Zipcars deployed around the city, based on usage. Zipcar, based in Boston, has 1 million “members” (enrolled users), and 12,000 vehicles worldwide! There are approximately 80-100 members using athe Zipcar, typically within a 10-15 minute walk from a site. The transportation paradigm shift also reveals that on average for each carshare user who owns one car, that car is often “shed”; an owner has two cars, one car is “shed”. The term being used for this phenomenon is vehicle shedding or displacement.
Zipcar makes/models are Subaru Impreza, Honda Fit, and Honda CR-V. Curbs will be painted and signs posted to designate the “home base” for each vehicle. To start Zipcar vehicles will be located at City parking lots 6 (Granada garage) and 10 (lot at Ortega and Anacapa), Amtrak Depot lot, Cottage Hospital garage, and the corners of Sola and De la Vina, Figueroa and Chapala, De la Guerra and De la Vina, Micheltorena and San Andres, and Milpas and Gutierrez. Zipcar will monitor and evaluate usage to, in partnership with the City, identify optimal locations.
Zipcar offers business and residential memberships, so the hope is that local businesses will offer this carsharing option to employees. More information is coming through City water bill inserts, online City News In Brief, etc.
Go to www.zipcar.com to learn more or to join Zipcar.