Mayor Bill de Blasio: I want to start at the beginning and tell you what these signs really are going to mean for New Yorkers.
So look, if you live in any neighborhood of this city you deal with the reality of congestion. I want to make that really clear from the beginning. Some people I think harbor the assumption that congestion is just a Midtown, Manhattan problem. No, congestion is a New York City problem. Pollution is a New York City problem. These are things that we have to address every day, every way we can.
It’s about protecting our city and our people in so many different ways. We have to protect our environment, and our health. We have to make sure people can get around. We have to make sure that New Yorkers have more options for getting around. Right now the status quo isn’t acceptable. So our job is to create more and better options for New Yorkers to get around. And that’s why this announcement to me is very exciting, because for so many New Yorkers there is tremendous frustration when it comes to owning a car. And I experienced it myself, and I’ve talked to countless neighbors but also the people all over the city. When you own a car in this city you got a whole set of challenges that come with it. Obviously, the cost of insurance, fuel, repairs, but particularly the challenge of parking in New York City. There are just too many cars here. And to make matters worse, we’re growing, population is growing, number of jobs is growing, number of tourists is growing, everything is growing. I am thrilled we’re growing, there’s a lot of good things that come with that but there is also going to be even greater challenges in terms of addressing congestion.
So, we have to give people new options. We have to give people another way to get around. And if people only sometimes really need a car, let’s make it easier for them to get the car only when they need. And not have to pay all those other costs all year long for something they don’t need a lot of time, and certainly to get cars off the streets out of parking spaces. There is a lot of people who have their car in a parking space all week long and only use it really on the weekend. That’s not an optimal situation. So what we want to do is make it easier for people who only need a car a small amount of the time to have a great new option. And this is where this new initiative comes in. I think there is tremendous potential here. And I’ll just speak to some of the key points, and Commissioner Trottenberg will go into more of the details. But I am very excited about this because I am think it’s going to open up a whole new world of possibilities for eight million New Yorkers. Now, this is consistent with efforts we’ve made previously. And I want to thank all of the different leaders in this administration and all the agencies and all our partners – non-profit partners, private sector partners who have helped us to expand the number of options. Clearly that has happened with Citi Bike, it has happened with NYC Ferry. In a public sector way it’s happening with select bus service. These are all in the same vein - giving new options to New Yorkers making it easier for them to get around.
I want to thank everyone who’s been a part of that. And I want to offer some particular appreciation today to our partners in this initiative around car sharing. I want to thank and they’re here with us – Paul Metz the CarShare group manager for Enterprise and Justin Holmes the director for of corporate communications and public policy for Zipcar. Thank you both for being here, and thank you for the great service that you’re providing to New Yorkers. Also, this as I mentioned is very important to our overall efforts to create sustainability, to protect our environment, to have a city that is more and more built for the future – for a sustainable future. So I want to thank the person who I rely on to help us do that kind of planning, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Mark Chambers. And another important feature, because we believe in making opportunities like this available to a wide range of New Yorkers regardless of income. There is a great partnership here with these two companies and the New York City Housing Authority to make sure that housing authority residents have opportunity to take advantage of this service. I want to thank from the housing authority we have Executive Vice President for External Affairs Dave Pristin, I want to thank you for being with us as well. So, put this in the same vein. You’ve got Citi Bike, you’ve got NYC Ferry, you’ve got select bus service, now car sharing all pointed in the same direction. And it’s a really simple idea. You go online, you reserve a car, you go to where the car is, you unlock it, you drive away, couldn’t be simpler. It’s simple, it’s convenient, it allows people to get a car they need quickly and easily. It’s a lot less complex than traditional car rental systems are.
So in partnering with these two companies – this is something we’re going to start right away. So the partnership with Zipcar and with Enterprise literally begins , this coming Monday more than 300 dedicated parking spots will be available around New York City. 24 of them in lots in the public housing developments and in addition, I mentioned for public housing developments I want to make these available and a good option. NYCHA residents will have the ability to join these car sharing services for free. The membership fee will be waived, and they will get discount rates. Also, for IDNYC holders they will get a one year free membership with Zipcar.
So, these are really great benefits. Also, in the category of news you can use, I want people to understand how affordable these services can be.
So, they start at $8 an hour and at $69 a day to rent these vehicles. And I can say as – from the early years of parenthood when Chirlane and I needed to, before we had a car, when we needed to do something with Chiara, our only choice was to call a car service and the car services were great but $8, you know $8 was for a ten-minute ride. You’re talking about here $8 for an hour, again, $69 for a day. This is a very affordable service for a lot of New Yorkers.
Again, the idea is you wouldn’t need a car that you have every day, all year round for when you only need to use it a few days a week or a few times during the week. It really makes sense. And here’s some of the example of what it could mean for the city going forward.
Every New Yorker – I guarantee you this, if you said to New Yorkers, what if we had a plan to get a lot of cars off the roads and off the streets and open up a lot more parking spaces, would you like that idea?
I bet you, you would get close to a universal yes. Here’s what studies have shown. For each shared car available, a city can take up to 20 cars off the road. Think about that. Twenty cars that will not be purchased or will no longer be necessary because the shared service is available.
Think about where that could lead us in terms of clearing up congestion, in terms of making more parking spaces available in the long term. So, this is very exciting and years from now if this goes well, I see tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers using this service and not needing to have a car and that making this a much better city.
Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Department of Transportation: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I am excited and thank you for your enthusiasm. You have long been interested, I know, in seeing if the City could find a way to come up with an alternative that would enable people, perhaps, to give up owning cars but give them a practical and affordable way to use a car when they needed one. And we’re here with our leader from the Council – Council member Levine, who championed this legislation; Chairman Rodriguez; Borough President Brewer; my colleague from the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability; and our private sector colleagues, Justin Holmes and Paul Metz. It’s great to have you all here. We are excited about this partnership.
Under the legislation that Council member Levine got passed we are now going to be opening up 285 parking spaces across the four boroughs, 230 on street – and some of you saw today the Mayor stood at where those spaces will be here up on the Upper West Side – and another 55 spots in DOT municipal lots as well as the 24 NYCHA spots.
The pilot will really, we think, serve potentially two kinds of neighborhoods – one the Mayor sort of mentioned, a neighborhood where people are not using their cars to commute to work every day, they’re just using them occasionally on weekends but they’re keeping the car in the neighborhood, it’s very expensive, it’s very inconvenient. They’re very much a group that potentially could just benefit tremendously from Zipcar. And then in another neighborhoods, for example, like the Rockaways where there are fewer transit options, people perhaps don’t want to have the expense of owning a car but they need, from time to time, to have access to one.
Studies have shown that owning a car in New York City right now is about $9,000 a year with car payments, insurance, maintenance, as well as the hassles of parking, potential tickets, all the inconveniences of owning a car here.
So, these car sharing models give people potentially a chance to save dramatic amounts of money – just to put some math to what the Mayor said. The car-share prices can range from $8 to $15, $70 to $121 per day. So if you used a car, let’s say, four hours a week twice a month to run errands or visit family outside the city, you could be spending in the ballpark of about $1,500 a year as opposed to the $9,000 for owning a car full-time.
So that can be a real dramatic savings. And as the Mayor said, research has shown – and we’ve looked at a bunch of studies over the course of years – that in the long run car-share can induce people to give up cars. That eases congestion, tackles air quality problems, and we hope will really actually ease the competition for parking at the curb.
So, for those of you who saw today, we’ve put up specific signage at the curb and car-share companies will be parking their cars in those spaces. We’ve worked with local community stakeholders, community boards, elected officials to pick the areas. We went with a coalition of the will in neighborhoods that were very interested in doing this. And we will be doing a big effort of public outreach, social media, etcetera to make sure local residents are aware of the pilot.
This is going to be a two-year pilot. We will be evaluating as we go. We will be seeing how the cars are being used, talking to our private sector partners and of course obviously surveying the users and seeing if they’re liking the service and it’s working as well as it should be. And then over the course of the pilot, we’ll see if we’re interested in expanding or what steps we might take next.
I think, as the Mayor said, if the pilot goes well this has real potential to offer New Yorkers a much more affordable way to have access to a car when they need it. I just want to give a thanks particularly to a couple members of my team – Alex Keating and Laura MacNeil who did a lot of the yeoman’s work of putting this together, William Lee and Tony Galgan from our borough engineering shop as well.
So, thank you, Mr. Mayor. We are excited.