Car sharing is what young entrepreneur Annie Bourdon called a “new take on an old business.” It focuses on the idea of sustainable transportation. Nearly every household owns at least one car which, as we know, causes pollution, costs a lot of money, and takes up precious space for parking. On average, a car in the United States will sit parked 98% of the time (caresharevt.org). Why should people in metropolitan areas have to invest so much money in owning a car, when they don’t really need to use it that often?
Annie’s mission in solving transportation problems began in San Francisco, where at 24 years old she became the Marketing Director for City CarShare. She became a national leader in working to fix transportation problems, with calls from other city officials seeking advice and looking to start up a similar program in their own cities (Burlington was one of them!).
After some time there, she was brought back to Vermont, and eventually decided to pursue a master’s degree in public administration at UVM. Anni re-connected with representatives from Burlington who were interested in starting a car share service, and devoted her graduate courses to putting this project in motion. On December 15th, 2008, around one-hundred people gathered in front of City Hall on Church Street, on more environmentally friendly and less costly forms of transportation. Currently, CarShare Vermont has roughly 800 members and a fleet of 10 cars that are in use for about 9 hours each day. Annie plans to add four more cars to the fleet to meet the needs of the growing number of members. She also hopes to expand the service to South Burlington and Essex. According to a survey from CarShare, over 50% of members save money on transportation, and there are 2.6 million fewer miles driven annually. All this, just from sharing ten cars.
Did you know that Champlain and UVM students get free membership? Check it out: http://www.carsharevt.org/