City of Rochester looks to start electric car sharing program


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The city of Rochester could be implementing an electric car sharing program by the end of this year.

Rochester already has a bike sharing program, but the city is looking to provide residents with more transportation options. The city’s accepting proposals from car share operators for the program now.

“Obviously with the weather in Rochester, we don’t have a year round bike share program. We wish we could and so right now we’re also looking at a scooter share program assuming the state passes legislation allowing it, and so to augment that with an electric car sharing program,” said Alex Yudelson, Chief of Staff for the city of Rochester.

According to the city, the program would work a lot like the current Pace bike program.

Electric cars would be parked at designated spots throughout the city, and like the bike program, you would use an app to rent out a vehicle.

“Ideally there would be a way to very easily from your phone or online rent out a car that you could use for a certain period of time. Obviously, the longer you would use it, the more it would cost. But also probably more realistically short trips to the grocery store and back where maybe ride sharing is more expensive,” said Yudelson.

The city wants the program to serve as an affordable option for residents.

According to the census bureau 32 percent of Rochester residents live in poverty. A report commissioned by Reconnect Rochester links poverty with lack of access to transportation. Per the report, almost half of those who commute to work via public transportation are earning below the poverty level.

“ We know that people in the city of Rochester have issues with transportation. Especially when they are trying to get to work or child care. And so to have this sort of system and really launch a pilot program to see that it works while also going green and keeping the city sustainable. That’s really the goal of this,” said Yudelson.

Proposals are due for car operators to the city by March 12. The city says the goal is to have the car sharing program hit the streets by fall of 2020.

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