CityFleet, the City of Portland, Oregon’s fleet division, has launched a pilot project investigating the replacement of its downtown motor pool with a car-sharing service provided by Flexcar.
Currently the city maintains a pool of 20 vehicles downtown. City employees will now reserve Flexcar vehicles online and pick up the cars at a number of locations downtown.
The City of Portland has entered into a five-year sole-source contract, renewable annually, with Flexcar to provide transportation and motor pool services to city employees.
A few city bureaus have used Flexcar as their means of transportation for the past year, providing data on availability and cost-savings.
The new year-long pilot program as the first segment of the contract will be used to further validate estimates of reduced city costs and improved environmental impact without sacrificing mobility.
We have been looking at several alternatives that stretch tax-dollars without compromising customer service. Flexcar provided the City with a rental fee that was less than we needed to cover our costs of running the motor pool and has an excellent customer service record.—Ron Bergman, Director of General Services
The move to Flexcar is expected to save approximately 25% of the current motor pool annual operating, maintenance and fuel costs. The program will be monitored monthly to determine our actual savings.
Portland claims the title of the first city in the United States to offer a car-sharing service when CarSharing Portland launched in 1998.
CarSharing Portland later merged with Flexcar, which was founded in 1999 as a joint public-private partnership with King County (Wash.) Metro.
FlexCar now has operations in six major metropolitan areas and operating agreements and partnerships with municipalities, transportation agencies and governments across the United States. Like the larger ZipCar (earlier post), FlexCar is looking to expand.