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Chapter 5 The Role of Partners 5.7Employers and Businesses Employers and businesses are in many respects a car-sharing customer. Most business customers use the service in the same way as an individual member, and join in order to have access to a vehicle for client meetings and other business trips. Some business members, however, have greater involvement with car-sharing, and can also be considered as a partner for car-sharing operators. Goals and Benefits Employers who have partnered with car-sharing organizations have several goals in mind. In most cases, the aim is to gain access to another mobility option, which can be more convenient or economical than rental cars, an in-house fleet or employees' private cars. Professional businesses such as architectural and engineering firms have proven to be particular fertile ground for car-sharing operators. Some businesses have broader goals in mind, and use car-sharing as a strategy to reduce the need for staff to bring a car to work. Car-sharing can function as a parking management tool, or as part of a larger TDM program. Employees can use car-sharing vehicles for errands and meetings during business hours, and can thus ride a bicycle or take transit to work instead of bringing the car. The Seattle Times, for example, was facing parking management issues following the sale of some of its surface lots. Car-sharing was seen as a strategy to reduce parking demand by helping employees ride transit and boost transit pass sales. More than 15% of respondents to an employee sur- vey stated that access to a car during the day would help them not drive to work. The company is currently piloting a car-sharing program as part of its commute trip reduction efforts. Swedish Medical Center in Seattle also sees car-sharing as a commute trip reduction strategy, and as a way to provide transportation between its six campuses. While three of these are linked by a shuttle, others are more remote. Staff calculated that car-sharing would be cheaper than either a shuttle or paying parking and mileage expenses for employees who need to travel between campuses. This was key to gaining support from senior management. "In today's world of healthcare, it's a bottom line decision," according to the firm's parking manager. Page September 2005 5-38

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Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds In addition, many companies view car-sharing as an employee benefit, as it increases the mobility of the staff who do not drive to work. At Swedish Medical Center, human resources staff advertises car-sharing as a fringe benefit when recruiting new employees. Several companies, in particular smaller ones, also state that car-sharing is much more cost-effective than having company vehicles, since they do not need to think about expenses for leasing, insurance, maintenance, and parking. There are also examples of organizations replacing larger fleets with car-sharing, such as the cities of Berkeley and Philadelphia which are discussed in Section 5.5 earlier in this chapter. Finding a Partner Most businesses have come in contact with car-sharing through general marketing by the car-sharing operator, or local government TDM programs. Wallis Engineering in the City of Vancouver, WA, for example, was consider- ing buying a car for travel to business meetings since many of its employees bike or walk to work. By coincidence, the company heard about Flexcar, which made more sense than buying a car for occasional use. The Defender Association in Seattle, in contrast, joined because of commute trip reduction incentives provided by King County Metro. The Defender Association needed to provide some bus passes for employees' work off site. It had received a discounted introductory rate from Metro. By paying a little more than the needed bus passes, it was able to provide FlexPass transit passes for all employees. The transit passes had become a valued employee benefit, but the higher cost each year was making it difficult to continue. By eliminating 10 parking spaces, which were half of its investigators' spaces, and making car-sharing available to its investigators instead, The Defender Association was able to take advantage of another Metro incentive program. Because the firm saved money on parking, it was able to retain the FlexPass benefit for all employees. Parking management also leads to partnerships. When the landscape ar- chitectural firm Bluegreen opened its office in Aspen in 2002, there was limited parking but a need for a car for site visits and meetings. The com- pany focuses on environmentally sensitive design and is a member of the US Green Building Council. Hence, the reason to join the local car-sharing organization Roaring Fork Valley Vehicles was a combination of a need for vehicles close-by and a desire to support the company's "green" profile. Page 5-39

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Chapter 5 The Role of Partners Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) have great potential to become good partners with car-sharing operators, since they usually have the similar goals as a transit agency or local government. Lloyd District TMA in Portland, OR became involved in car-sharing a few years back as a supple- ment to its alternative commute program. By introducing car-sharing the TMA could boost the mobility of the employees during business hours. Types of Support Employers mainly provide internal marketing for car-sharing and mem- bership benefits for staff. Administrative support, parking and financial contributions are usually not necessary since these are provided by the car-sharing operator. Indeed, part of the attraction of car-sharing is that it is a turnkey solution that requires little administrative effort. Car-sharing operators maintain and operate the vehicles, provide training sessions, and supply marketing materials. Marketing Car-sharing operators' marketing is usually targeted at signing up organizational members. The responsibility for recruiting individual staff members, in contrast, often rests with the employ- ers themselves. The message is often focused on the benefits of car-sharing and how one can join. To a large extent, businesses simply distribute the car-sharing organization's own marketing mate- rial. Other types of marketing include articles in employee newsletters, memos and e-mails, and are often conducted through a broader TDM pro- gram. Seattle Times, for instance, has produced a poster with information about its annual bus pass and the integration with Flexcar (Exhibit 5-23). At Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA Flexcar provides its standard marketing materials and attends the annual employee transportation fair. There are posters on every campus and articles in the internal monthly memo to staff. The hospital is currently working on a new parking depart- Exhibit 5-23 Seattle Times' poster promoting transit and car- sharing to employees. ment website, which will have a link to an online application. Page September 2005 5-40

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Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds TMAs can also be a valuable marketing channel for employers. For example, Lloyd District TMA in Portland, OR provides its members with information about Flexcar, through the TMA Transportation Shop. Parking Most businesses and employers do not need to provide car-sharing park- ing since they can use vehicles located nearby. However, Swedish Medical Center in Seattle provides free parking for Flexcar vehicles in its garage in a prime location. This is a substantial in-kind contribution, since parking normally costs $85 per month and shift. On the other hand, employees gain the benefits of easier access to these vehicles. In addition, the cars are parked in the most visible locations, contributing to the marketing effort. Memberships Employers can choose from several models to make car-sharing available to their employees. One consideration is whether to have a dedicated or semi-dedicated fleet, or use the wider car-sharing network. Dedicated vehicles offer a better guarantee of availability, but can be more expensive; semi-dedicated vehicles provide a similar tradeoff, but are made available to other car-sharing members outside of business hours. So far, the most common approach is for a business to use the open fleet, rather than pay for dedicated vehicles. This approach is used by both smaller companies, such as The Defender Association in Seattle and Wallis Engineer- ing in Vancouver, WA, and larger employers, such as The Seattle Times. The second consideration is the types of trips for which car-sharing may be used. Some companies, such as Bluegreen in Colorado, limit usage to busi- ness meetings and company-related errands. However, several companies encourage and pay for use for short personal errands during business hours, in order to help employees avoid driving to work. Swedish Medical Center allows all employees access to car-sharing for business purposes, but limits personal use to those who do not have a parking permit. The Seattle Times, meanwhile, does not allow the use of car-sharing vehicles for business purposes at all. Reporters, for example, need instant access to a vehicle on demand and are required to have their own cars. TMAs can also provide car-sharing memberships for employees and inte- grate these programs with transit. Portland's Lloyd District TMA for example, has built on its "Passport" employer transit pass through using a $16,000 Page 5-41

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Chapter 5 The Role of Partners CMAQ grant to fund the Passport+ program. This allows unlimited use of Flexcar vehicles in the TMA district during business hours, for Passport holders who sign up for car-sharing. The program has helped expand car- sharing from two to five cars in the district, and about 50 members have signed up. However, the grant money has now been used and the subsidies have been withdrawn. Page September 2005 5-42