Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking back the streets—and then giving them to two massive multinational companies.
Starting June 4, residents of certain neighborhoods will see signs reserving parking spaces for Enterprise and Zip Car rentals. It's part of a two-year pilot program unveiled Thursday by the mayor to promote carsharing. It will allocate 230 spots at curbside, 55 in municipal garages and 24 in New York City Housing Authority lots for the members-only autos.
The carsharing services allow people to unlock cars via smartphone and use them for short periods of time.
The mayor characterized the program as an anti-congestion measure "pointed in the same direction" as CitiBike and his public ferry program: to diversify transit options and promote sustainability. De Blasio asserted it would ultimately liberate more parking spots across the city, citing a study finding that carshare options take autos off the street.
"There are just too many cars here," the mayor said, highlighting the five boroughs' swelling population and the costs of car ownership. "If people only sometimes really need a car, let's help them get a car only when they need it."
Both companies will give free memberships and discounted rates to public housing tenants. Zip Car will also give a free membership to holders of the IDNYC public identification card.
Yearly memberships with Enterprise start at $40, and the cost for a rental starts at $8 an hour or $69 a day. At Zip Car, the annual fee is $70, plus hourly rates beginning at $7.50 and daily ones at $70 to $80.
De Blasio said he hoped to see the pilot eventually grow "much bigger" and prompt thousands of New Yorkers to get rid of their personal autos and to stop hailing for-hire cars.