Car share could ease burden on Burlingame roads

Burlingame may have a new plan to take cars off the road: Add vehicles for residents and city employees to share.

The subtraction-by-addition plan would allow residents to reserve and then either drive cars, trucks or vans brought to Burlingame by an outside agency in partnership with the city. The pilot program, the first of its kind on the Peninsula, would add two new cars to be stationed at City Hall and one at the Burlingame Avenue Caltrain station and could expand from there.

The city’s Green Ribbon Task Force — a group of council members, planning commissioners and other residents — will recommend tonight that the citystaff explore the car-sharing idea before bringing a proposal back to the City Council to approve.

The group hopes the car-share program would allow families to sell their rarely used second or third vehicles.

“This would be one dramatic way where we could get some cars off the road,” said Councilmember Terry Nagel, a member of the task force.

City Manager Jim Nantell has already met with representatives from City Carshare, a San Francisco-based nonprofit with hundreds of vehicles in The City, Oakland, Berkeley and El Cerrito.

Nantell said the city was highly interested in the program but it was still unclear whether the service would save the city money. As part of the program, Burlingame would likely reduce its current pool of city vehicles, which are expensive to maintain. It would also pay about $800 to $1,000 per month for the provided cars.

City employees would have first dibs on the cars, for free, during weekdays; residents could pay to use them on nights and weekends. A similar program is already utilized by the city of Berkeley.

According to the City Carshare program, residents first locate a hub, such as Burlingame City Hall, to pick up the car. They then reserve acar online or by phone, use a provided electronic key that starts any of the program’s vehicles and return the car to its original location when finished. Trips usually cost $5 per hour plus 40 cents per mile, with gas, insurance and maintenance included.

City Carshare spokeswoman Anita Daley confirmed her group is interested in expanding to Burlingame but said no decisions have been made yet.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

Car share plan by the numbers

3: Number of cars in pilot program

Locations: City Hall, Burlingame Avenue Caltrain station

$5: Hourly rental cost for residents

40 cents: Cost per mile for residents to rent car

$800 to $1,000: City’s monthly cost

<p>Free: Car cost for city employees

4: Cities using City Carshare: San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, El Cerrito

*Sources: City of Burlingame, City Carshare

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