(Sort of) First! Miami Beach and Hertz Bring Car-Sharing to Florida
The City of Miami Beach loves attention. It was the first to bring a bike sharing program to South Florida with DECOBIKE, and now it has partnered with Hertz to offer “Hertz On Demand,” the first car-sharing program for a municipality (the service is already available at Florida International University, among others). The partnership kicked off yesterday with much fanfare, speeches, and assertions of awesomeness from everyone involved. After all that, it’s really just a baby step toward reducing congestion: Hertz is offering 20 cars in eight garages scattered around the city, with one hybrid option for now. If the program is successful, it will offer 100 vehicles.
Customers must rent the cars in advance online on wwww.Hertzondemand.com, so it’s convenient except that you have to wait for the fob to be mailed to you; then you can get to the keys in the car and go. There is no annual membership fee and no trial period for membership, unlike competitor Zipcar. Renters can also make one-way car trips, a major advantage over ZipCar and other car-sharing services where people must return the car to the place they picked it up. Rates start at $9.00 the hour, and start at $63 a day. The cost of gas, insurance, and 24/7 roadside assistance are included (they place a gas card under the sun visor), as are the first 180 miles within a 24 hour period. There is a $250 insurance deductible.
Someone at Hertz read the writing on the wall back in 2011 and they began capitalizing on the car-sharing trend, hoping for great publicity and profit. What they’ve come up with works- somewhat. Check out their Facebook page and you’ll see customers demanding that Hertz iron out some major kinks. Still, they’re cleverly offering to buy people’s membership cards to competitor’s driving programs: “Join Hertz On Demand for FREE and we’ll give you enough driving credits to cover the cost of your annual car share membership fee and then some. Just mail us your membership card from any US car share competitor and we’ll give you $75 in driving credits to try Hertz On Demand!” I might be tempted to keep my mine. Partly because I’m partial to something a little different, a little like RelayRide– a car-sharing program where people can make money from renting out their cars and reduce congestion.
What’s in it for the City?
It is notoriously difficult to drive around or find parking in Miami Beach, day or night. Many a woman has felt the keen agony of walking to a night club in heels from a parking garage too many blocks away. So, in theory, the Hertz program frees locals who rarely use a car from having to buy one, and therefore frees up parking spaces and congestion. The driving situation is so bad in the City that not even 100 Hertz cars will make a dent. But, at least the City is leasing parking spaces to Hertz for $75; not too shabby. Hertz will also pay Miami Beach a portion of its gross revenue: 0.50% in Year 3, 0.75% in Year 4, and 1% in Year 5, according to the City of Miami Beach press release.
via The Miami Herald