Comment 76708

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted May 09, 2012 at 14:50:10

Autolib is an interesting idea, and they immediately went big with 250 cars in the initial launch on December 5, 2000 by the end of June and 3000 by the end of 2012. I was in Paris for the launch and it was interesting to see that it was quite controversial for three reasons:

  1. Car rental companies immediately cried "unfair competition" (threatening to sue), although this was clearly a niche they weren't filling. (Some companies are now making similar short-term offers with non-electric cars.)

  2. Environmentalists claimed that no solution that puts more cars on the streets is good, since most users probably don't already own cars. They also don't like the batteries.

  3. The general public (and several people I talked to here) seem to think it is expensive and not competitive with the metro, buses or velib'.

Nevertheless, the autolib' stations I see seem to be well-used. It's an interesting experiment.

I'm glad that Hamilton has a car share programme, but it's unfortunate that like so many other such initiatives here it is really too small to be of much use: only four cars in a city of 520 000.

Like the cycling networks and pedestrian friendly streets, such initiatives aren't going to work until they are convenient and form a well-connected network. Paris has a tradition of big, successful, transportation infrastructure investments (e.g. metro, RER, LRT, cycle lanes, velib',..), but governments in Canada seem very reluctant to make the necessary initial investment in anything other than roads...

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