In car-obsessed L.A., public transportation isn’t really popular or convenient. We Angelenos need our cars to navigate the sprawl, run from West L.A. to Silver Lake to Long Beach at the drop of a hat. Something you definitely can’t do if you have to rely on the bus. However because we live in a city, car insurance, gas, car maintenance and parking tend to cost a not-so-pretty penny. Sure, no one is really complaining about having to pay for all that, after all in L.A. we are our cars. And yet what if you could save about $500 a month, help the environment and still have a nice car to drive? All you would have to do is learn to share.
Flexcar.com is a car-sharing service that started in 2000 and currently exists in eight major cities — Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC — including Los Angeles. And how it works for Flexcar members is you reserve a car via phone or online, walk to the designated parking spot which in most cases is within a five-minute walk of your location and borrow the car for how ever long you need it. One hourly rate (about $10) covers gas, insurance and unlimited miles, but you can really borrow the car for as long as you want (just notify the company if you need it for longer than 72 hours). And when you’re done, just return the car to where you picked it up.
If you want to see just how much you would be saving compared to what you’re paying now for all your car costs, play with
Flexcar’s online comparison tool which tells you the cost difference between owning/renting a car versus car sharing.
Cars available range from the practical Toyota Prius to the Honda Element to the Toyota Tacoma to the Mini Cooper (yay!).
There is of course an annual membership fee ($25) and an application fee, but that seems miniscule compared to how much you’d be saving in the long run. Plus Flexcar members get additional benefits like Flexcar Member Appreciation Night at professional sporting events, urban hikes, movie nights, and happy hours and promotional discounts from local businesses, including coffee shops, day spas & salons, and organic supermarkets.
This would be especially perfect for those of you who don’t solely rely on cars for transportation but also use bikes and your own two feet to get around. Maybe you live in a cool neighborhood where most things are within walking distance and you’d only need your car to run errands on the weekend or party hop from the Valley to Hollywood on occasion.