NYC Expands Car Sharing in Fleet Reduction Plan

June 15, 2015, by Paul Clinton

Photo courtesy of DCAS.
Photo courtesy of DCAS.

New York City has begun implementing a plan to eliminate nearly 10% of of its light-duty fleet vehicles by the end of 2020, following the passage of a city law requiring a formal car-sharing plan.

The city's Department of Corrections will be the first city agency to roll out car sharing following Mayor Bill De Blasio's May 6 signing of Intro 597-A into law. The initiative is part of De Blasio's OneNYC sustainability plan and the city's Vision Zero safety plan.

The new law requires the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to reduce the city fleet by 2% per year for four years beginning in 2016 and reduce the fleet by 1% in 2020. With the passage of the legislation, DCAS will expand a car-sharing plan that has been in place for about two years, said Keith Kerman, the city's chief fleet officer.

"The local legislation builds on the city's existing efforts," Kerman said. "It mandates that the fleet expand car-share and fleet-share programs."

Under the city's car sharing initiative, city workers who need a car on a sporadic basis can access private car-sharing vehicles from companies such as Zipcar just like a member of the public. Under the fleet-share program called FastFleet, DCAS has added Zipcar's car-sharing technology to city-owned vehicles to increase the utilization of motor pool vehicles. The city has added Zipcar's technology to 600 city vehicles, and plans to roll it out to 1,000 units by 2017.

The Department of Corrections is the latest city agency to begin using car sharing, joining DCAS, parks, environmental protection, health, transportation and Grow NYC. The pooling technology that allows workers to swipe key cards over a vehicle to unlock it works best with agencies who have general pools of vehicles and close proximity to parking structures. Emergency services vehicles such as police and fire wouldn't be a good fit for the program, Kerman said.

Photo courtesy of DCAS.
Photo courtesy of DCAS.

The city's car-sharing plan has been geared toward city workers who don't need access to vehicles on a daily basis, and the city doesn't expect to reach a point where it has a shortage of vehicles.

"There are a lot of units and staff people who need access to city vehicles but they really don’t need them five days a week," Kerman said. "It doesn’t matter which car you use every day, just that you have access to a vehicle. We've found we have more than enough vehicles."

The increased efficiency also allows the city to sell off vehicles at auction. The city can save up to $5,000 per year per reduced vehicle.

"If you're using this to optimize and reduce your fleet, it’s a cost saving program as well as an important culture change," Kerman said.

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