U-Haul car-sharing service expands in Madison

Thursday, January 15, 2009

From an article by Judy Newman in the Wisconsin State Journal:

A car-sharing service run by U-Haul is beefing up its presence in Madison.

U Car Share began a year ago as a pilot program in Madison and 12 other cities.

Six PT Cruisers are available at the U-Haul center at 602 W. Washington Ave. but three will be moved later this month to parking lots along Regent Street, through contracts with Budget Bicycle Center.

"Our goal is to be directly on campus as well as Downtown. We want to expand into parking ramps around the Capitol Square," said Cassandra Allen, program manager for U Car Share, at U-Haul headquarters in Phoenix.

She said another six cars are expected to be added here over the next few months, most likely hybrids and compact cars, replacing the PT Cruisers.

Allen said U Car Share is not trying to take on Community Car, a locally owned, 5-year-old operation that now has more than 1,000 members using 17 vehicles from 16 Madison locations.

"We’re not like the other for-profit businesses. We really want to become part of an organization of car-sharing companies," Allen said. "We’ve contacted Community Car; we want to share members, be friendly and have everybody feel they’ve got a larger network."

Sonya Newenhouse, president of Community Car, said she welcomes the "friendly competition."

"It creates a culture of driving less and sharing. It augments the possibilities for people to drive less and share more," she said.