Manager says car-sharing program is on right road
Aspen Times Staff Writer
The manager of Aspen’s car-sharing program said it is enjoying “strong success” through word-of-mouth referrals, and plans are in the works to expand the environmentally friendly fleet.
Gavin Seedorf, manager of Roaring Fork Valley Vehicles, said the program has had an encouraging start since opening two years ago.
“This was designed as a pilot program, but over the last two years it has proven to be a strong success,” he said. “And from what I hear from our customers, our expansion is due primarily to referrals and word-of-mouth, and that’s really encouraging.”
Roaring Fork Valley Vehicles (RFVV) is a nonprofit agency that runs the car-sharing program. It was established in May 2001 by a grant from the city of Aspen and the Community Office of Resource Efficiency in an effort to reduce traffic congestion and emissions in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Currently, RFVV keeps two cars available in Aspen for public use. The program is open to all valley residents with a driver’s license. After a $25 initiation fee, members pay $10 a month to keep their membership active. The cars are booked at $3 an hour and 10 cents a mile through an automated scheduling system. RFVV has 70 people in the program.
The organization plans to expand its fleet to five cars over the next few years and will submit its expansion proposal to the City Council this week.
One type of car available in the program is the Toyota Prius, an electric hybrid which gets close to 50 miles per gallon. Seedorf said the 29,000 miles the cars have been driven in the past two years has conserved over 1,800 gallons of gasoline, 36,000 pounds of CO2 and 18 tons of greenhouse gasses compared to two SUVs.
But Seedorf said the cars’ contribution is even greater than the figures suggest. The city’s Community Development Department, for example, uses the car-sharing program in place of permanent company cars, which opens up vital parking spaces in the center of town.
And some individual members, such as Bridget Bielinski of Aspen, say the program helps prevent the need for a second car.
“I’ve been a member of RFVV for two years, and I’ve never had to use the cars,” Bielinksi said. “My family has a car. But knowing that there’s another car available means that I know I’ll be able to meet my family’s transportation needs without a second vehicle.”
Seedorf said the car-sharing program will continue to grow in popularity as more hear about it.
“We have a great demographic for this sort of thing,” he said. “People here would much rather spend money on ski boots than thousands of dollars on a car.
“Aspen is filled with people who are financially and environmentally responsible, who aren’t concerned about image but want to save money and help the environment.”
Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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