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My Car Is Your Car

Ian Sacs steps up to a new Toyota Prius and taps a plastic card against the windshield. Like magic, the doors unlock. "It's as easy as that," Sacs says. "Take the car and do your errands."

Sacs is the director of the Department of Transportation and Parking in Hoboken, New Jersey. In June he rolled out Hoboken Corner Cars, the country's first citywide car-share program, the goal of which is to get privately owned cars off the road by replacing them with rentals. Sacs estimates that in the next two years at least 750 Hobokenites will relinquish their vehicles and instead use Corner Cars to run errands.

Residents sign up for the program through Connect by Hertz and then pay rates ranging from $5 to $16 an hour to access one of 42 cars parked at various locations throughout the city. Unlike similar programs, such as those in Philadelphia and Aspen, Colorado, Sacs explains, a car is available within a five-minute walk from anywhere in town.

If each car is used about 2.5 hours a day or more, Hertz will make enough money to sustain the program. Already, many of the cars are used far more than that. And Hoboken profits too, by renting parking spaces to Hertz. "It's cheap, it's easy," Sacs says. "And it gets cars off the road."

image of Michael Easter
Michael Glenn Easter grew up in Utah and now lives in the New York City area, where he is pursuing a career in journalism. He has also written for Scientific American, Discover, and Esquire. His personal interests cover a broad range of topics, just ... READ MORE >
As someone who lived in Hoboken for many years, I'm glad to hear this! But Philadelphia, where I live now, currently boasts a very large number of rent-and-go car "pods," as well. I'd say in most neighborhoods there is a pod within a five minute walk. Also, the comparison is not quite fair: Hoboken is only 1 mile square, but Philly is 143 miles square! So as much as I love ya, Hoboken, I'd say Philly rules in terms of car sharing.