While it is possible to go carless in St. Louis (especially if you live in the city), most residents would claim that it’s challenging. In many cases, this perception represents an unwillingness to give up the convenience of a personal vehicle, but there is merit to the argument: our public transportation system is good, but not great, and the concept of a walkable neighborhood is still very much in its formative stages. In the last month, though, St. Louis-based Enterprise Rent-a-Car (a company I’ve blogged about recently) has started an experiment that may help residents rethink the idea of car ownership: it’s WeCar car-sharing program has launched (rather quietly) at Washington University and in the downtown loft district.
As local blogger Steve Patterson noted when WeCar rolled out at Wash, the program appears to be all-hybrid: six Priuses at Wash, one at their medical campus, and nine downtown. Mayor Francis Slay is already singing WeCar’s praises: “It will help the environment,” Slay said. “It will also give people more options as far as commuting. Some people would like to take light rail or the bus to work but they need the flexibility during the day. They can use the WeCar.”
While it’s hard to say if the concept will catch on citywide, or if Enterprise (or perhaps another car-sharing company) will expand beyond these initial locations, I’m excited to see this concept getting a trial run in the Lou’. With the recent shut-down of a section of Interstate 64, metro-area are residents are looking hard at transportation alternatives. Let’s hope more companies see an opportunity for these kinds of experiments… it’s the right time for them!