HourCar won its Golden Ticket for the Overnight Website Challenge as part of their win at the 2011 Social Venture Cup at the Engaged Philanthropy Conference.
Paired with Push 'n Run
Americans are car dependent and Twin Citians particularly so. While private vehicles have contributed to a sense of personal freedom and productivity, the resulting car-centric culture has also led to pollution, household financial stress, social isolation, physical inactivity, sprawling development, and deaths from accidents in the tens of thousands each year. Car ownership is an expensive burden on most Twin Cities households: from up-front costs, insurance, and gasoline to depreciation, financing costs, recurring taxes and fees, maintenance, and repairs, owning even a modest vehicle costs between $5,000 and $8,00 year in, year out.
HOURCAR makes car ownership optional for the lucky residents of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul metro area.
HOURCAR members pay a small application fee and complete an online training and test. We check their driving history and mail them a personal key "fob" that opens all the vehicles in our fleet. Whenever they need a car, members visit HOURCAR's online reservations system (or call our 24-hour support staff) and reserve any car in the system for their trip. Their monthly invoice includes a nominal fee for dues ($5-$15) plus a few dollars per reserved hour and $0.25 per mile driven. The average HOURCAR member spends just $35 per month on shared car use.
Car sharing fills an important transportation need. Thanks to a combination of buses, the expanding light rail system, and a growing network of bicycle and pedestrian amenities in the urban core, it's relatively easy for most local residents to commute to work and back without using a car. The cost of these options ranges from negligible (walking shoes and a raincoat/umbrella) to a couple hundred dollars for a refurbished bicycle, to $85 per month for an unlimited-ride rush hour pass on a local bus. Even better, seniors, youth, and persons with disabilities enjoy significant discounts on transit.
Unfortunately, even the most well-prepared and intrepid travelers find that some trips are hard to make without a private car. Here's where HOURCAR comes in:
- An impromptu visit to the pediatrician with a sick toddler
- A discount store trip for dog food, toilet paper, laundry detergent, and a garden hose (try that on a bus)
- An outing to an elderly parent's house in a nearby suburb, then a stop at the drug store, then back to the parent's house, then to the grocery store and back then home
- A short weekend camping excursion to a regional park
- Community Issue
- Economic Development