NM Carshare Vision/Working Draft

Our mission is to ensure equitable, cost-efficient, truly sustainable mobility, primarily through carsharing.

The net effects of carsharing are money saving, dependability assuring, fossil fuel use avoiding, mobility providing, and space saving. Carshare members can forego all the pitfalls of car ownership while having convenient access to a broad fleet of vehicles. Discrete quarter-hour pricing leads to discrete use of vehicles, saving members dollars they can spend locally, instead of sending to out-of-state carmakers and oil companies. Safe, well-maintained, insured vehicles displace older, less safe, less fuel efficient, often uninsured vehicles.

Conventional vehicle ownership is grossly uneconomical; a car, truck, or SUV is the largest or second largest asset most people have, and it sits depreciating 96% of its life, with an average yearly cost in the high four figures. Combined with all the other alternative modes (e.g. transit, ridesharing, biking, walking, etc.) carsharing offers a credible substitute for private car ownership.

Carshare vehicles get high levels of use and are more likely to be run while warm, therefore emitting less air pollution. Operating a fleet is an opportunity to introduce extremely efficient vehicles in substantial numbers, often offering members the chance to grow familiar with new technology – as in hybrid and battery-power – before making a purchase.

Although carsharing has existed in New Mexico for a number of years, its limited implementation has permitted it to reach only a fraction of its potential. National companies Zipcar and Enterprise Carshare have been here for several years but between them have seven vehicles in Albuquerque. To get to the ultimate build-out of carsharing’s potential will take a grass roots, creative, collaborative, sustained effort that these national for-profit companies would likely never pursue. 

First Year

  • Funding is found to obtain 501(c)3 certification OR a home at an existing entity (e.g. MRCOG or Rio Metro) and pay minimal stipends to Bob and Will for their ongoing work on the following.
  • Partnerships are explored with every regional entity that has a vehicle fleet or serves as a mass destination for drivers.
  • A thorough “best practices” search is made of other carsharing operations around the world.
  • MRCOG helps research optimal Pod locations and vehicle types.
  • A relationship with an established company like eGo in Boulder is established through which NM Carshare operates as a franchise. Otherwise we start building our own relationships with vendors (vehicles, software, insurance), and our own customer service and fleet management capabilities.
  • A business plan is developed which includes pricing (of membership and rental), minimum subsidy from Pod sponsors, and an overall branding offer. Also included are cost projections including 501(c)3 certification (if needed), staff salary, vehicle acquisition, vehicle maintenance, Pod preparation, insurance, operating software (reservations and fleet management).
  • Some vehicles from existing government-owned fleets are selected for donation (or loanation”) to help establish the NM Carshare fleet.
  • Robust carsharing is established with a dozen vehicles and 1.5 full time employees (FTEs). The vehicles are a mix of sedans, small SUVs, and small pickups. Some of the vehicles are used and have been donated by institutions. Others may include a mix of purchased and/or leased new and/or used vehicles based on TCO (total cost of ownership) analysis.
  • Initial Pod locations include UNM campuses, ART and Rail Runner stations, public libraries, Kirtland Air Force Base, Fire/Police stations, and on-street spaces in dense neighborhoods.
  • Volunteer opportunities in fleet and Pod management, and guerilla marketing are delineated and filled.
  • Develop reciprocal agreements with carsharing companies located in other cities to offer members seamless service when in those cities.

Two Years

  • There are about fifty vehicles at about twenty five Pods, including at most Rail Runner and ART stations. NM Carshare employs 5 FTEs (depending on possible outsourcing).
  • With relationships with MRCOG, ABQ Ride, NM DOT, and area Pueblos, work continues to weave the carsharing resource into the region’s overall mobility.
  • The city has instituted a square foot tax on surface parking to limit stormwater runoff and “heat-island” effect created by asphalt paving, increase consideration of parking cost, and bring in general revenue.
  • The city begins to approve new construction of only those parking structures that have a plan for conversion into usable space.
  • UNM designs ideal Pod with solar power, electric charging, member storage, and which automatically “checks in” a car for damage.

Three Years

  • There are about two hundred vehicles at about fifty Pods, including several Santa Fe locations. There are several wheelchair accessible vehicles strategically placed. Even with public funding NM Carshare is not obligated to provide this – as there is SunVan.
  • The NM Carshare app can broadcast rideshare opportunities; automatically link members to form carpools.
  • NM Carshare is breaking even on operations and successfully soliciting foundation and public funding for car acquisitions.
  • Virtually all new downtown and Uptown multi-unit residential construction features carsharing parking spaces.
  • Outreach has begun to other NM Communities such as Las Cruces; Taos to help them consider carsharing.
  • Member surveys show substantial drop in private car ownership potentially saving members thousands of dollars per year.

Five Years

  • NM Carshare is fielding about 300 vehicles in seventy-five Pods along the length of the Rail Runner line. It has its own facilities for vehicle maintenance and some repair.
  • It is exploring self-insurance, perhaps through a pool with other not-for-profits.
  • NM Carshare is making substantial improvements in local air quality with members retiring their older, dirtier vehicles in favor of far fewer and cleaner carshare vehicles.
  • NM Carshare is using its buying power to offer hyper-efficient vehicles across all the types in its fleet. Many Pods are furnished with charging stations.
  • The fleet is broadened to include specialty and vocational vehicles like cherry pickers (bucket lift trucks), stake body trucks, and fifteen passenger vans.
  • NM Carshare has developed a link between donors, volunteers, and mobility justice. Expensive paratransit trips are being eliminated by our enabling good samaritan members to instead drive those customers, volunteering their time and driving ability while NM Carshare provides the vehicle. NM Carshare offers a donation link to help subsidize these trips.
  • NM Carshare develops a reward point program for total safe miles including ability to donate your reward points to a non profit corporate member, volunteer driver, or low income member.

Twenty Years

  • There are about 700 vehicles in the NM Carshare fleet, most of which are a single, battery powered model for economy of scale but which also includes specialty vehicles strategically located around the region. Virtually every neighborhood, employment center, major transit stop, retirement community, and pueblo has Pods.
  • NM Carshare fleet purchases are pooled with other regional entities to harmonize regional fleet planning and secure best pricing and utilization.
  • The introduction of autonomous vehicles has compelled vehicle inspections in New Mexico, even of legacy non-autonomous vehicles so that they are more mechanically predictable in their interactions with an autonomous system. This has sent the most decrepit vehicles to scrap while raising the minimum operating cost of a private vehicle and propelling more drivers into carsharing.
  • Carsharing is second nature and has grown along with transit (an additional North-South BRT route to the Sunport, etc.), bikesharing, biking in general, handicapped sidewalk access, and ride sharing (Uber/Lyft). The confluence of mature alternative modes to driving has substantially changed the region’s mobility habits; fewer people own cars.
  • Electric bicycles have found their place between bikesharing and carsharing; many carsharing members use their own electric bikes to travel to carshare pods.
  • There are secure storage options at many Pods for members’ personal items (child seats, sports and outdoor equipment, etc.).
  • Vacant lots and surface parking have largely disappeared from downtown Albuquerque, and parking garages charge enough to be a factor in one’s choice of travel mode. “Road diets” and square footage tax of impermeable surfaces greatly decreases the amount of unnecessary asphalt with its stormwater runoff (directly into the Rio Grande) and heat retention.
  • Uptown, the Mile Hi District, North 4th Street, and several other neighborhoods have developed their own own walkable TOD cores and supports several pods.
  • New development in the region (the failure of Santolina is a distant memory) is dense and tied to transit, even outside of downtown.
  • As they are no longer needed for parking people are renovating their garages into living space; increasing value of houses an average of $50K (RMI study) and therefore increasing property taxes.
  • Some NM Carshare vehicles are skinned with display panels to show logo, etc. of member company during rental.
  • Carsharing adds to the economic resiliency of the region by decreasing the flow of money to out of state auto manufacturers and oil companies.
  • Autonomous (level 4) NM Carshare vehicles can be remotely summoned from and returned to Pods in many cases, broadening each Pod’s range of convenient coverage.

And into the Level 5 Autonomous future:

  • NM Carshare brand can carry on with autonomous vehicles; it would be the hometown favorite as autonomous services begin to be rolled out.
  • There will always be a role for a nonprofit in the space: ensuring mobility justice and coordinating vehicle use with area entities.
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