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L.A. to try car sharing -- is the city trying to turn you into a communist?

March 9, 2009 | 11:52 am

Closing the loop on a process that feels like it just started yesterday -- if yesterday was in Oct. 2007, that is -- the Los Angeles City Council on Friday gave the go-ahead to a pilot car-sharing program.

In other words, the council is going to allow the car-sharing firm Zipcar to park 10 of its rental cars in neighborhoods near USC and another 10 in neighborhoods near UCLA. City officials, in a report, even noted that they found 20 parking spots that lacked meters, so the city wouldn't be losing any meter revenue. Whew!

The cars can be rented by the hour or day. The idea is to provide a cheap and easily accessible rental car to those who don't want or don't need to own their own vehicle -- which advocates say cuts down on car ownership, particularly in high-density neighborhoods. You may not be surprised to learn that L.A. is a little slow coming to the party: Zipcars are already parked in multiple locations in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Rates in San Francisco start at $8.33 an hour and $66.60 a day, but Zipcar also offers a variety of plans to save a few bucks.

The city is evidently expecting the Zipcars to be a smashing success during their yearlong trial. "Upon the successful completion of the pilot program, the City will consider expanding car sharing to other suitable areas, including Venice, Hollywood, Downtown and other neighborhoods," wrote Councilman Bill Rosendahl in a news release.

-- Steve Hymon

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