Ithaca Carshare news updates
Downtown Ithaca Welcomes
Four New Businesses
On October 19, 2012, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance and Mayor Svante Myrick will welcome four new businesses to Downtown Ithaca:Gorgers, Bangkok Thai Bistro and Sushi Bar, Ithaca Carshare, and Life's So Sweet Chocolates. Joining in on the latter two celebrations will be a representative from the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce.
At 10:00 AM, there will be a ribbon cutting for Gorgers, a sub, salad and soup restaurant at 116 West State Street. Brothers Matthew and Barton Diamond opened Gorgers on August 23 in the former Prize Diner location after working to restore the space since March. The brothers make all of the restaurant's bread and sauces from scratch. They grow sweet and hot peppers, basil, tomatoes and cucumbers on their own eight-acre plot in Greene. Of the generousness of their portions, Barton says that "you get a ton of food for seven dollars."
Right next door at 10:15 AM, there will be a ribbon cutting for Bangkok Thai Bistro and Sushi Bar. Chef Supanya Unzel and her husband Todd Unzel, who serves as general manager and sushi chef, previously ran a Thai restaurant in a beach town in Rhode Island and fell in love with Ithaca during a recent road trip to Niagara Falls. Having extensively renovated the space at 118 West State Street, they serve up bold, authentic Thai food at affordable prices; specialties include drunken noodles, pineapple curry duck, and Thai donuts.
At 10:30 AM, there will be a ribbon cutting for Ithaca Carshare. This non-profit has much to celebrate this fall with a move into a newdowntown office space in the Dewitt Mall, a fleet totaling 21 vehicles, and membership surpassing 1,300. Ithacans carshare at the highest rate of any city outside Europe. Each carshare vehicle replaces over 15 privately owned cars, helping to remove an estimated 320 vehicles from Ithaca's roads and saving drivers over $2 million in ownership costs annually.
Finally, at 10:45 AM, there will be a ribbon cutting for Life's So Sweet Chocolates at 116 W. Green Street, next to McNeil Music. Owner Darlynne Overbaugh established the specialty chocolatier's original location on Main Street in Trumansburg in 2008; the expansion of her business to downtown Ithaca will result in the creation of eight new jobs. Life's So Sweet is a co-winner of Race for the Space, a competition held by the Downtown Ithaca Alliance to foster retail development and growth on and around the Commons. The store received a grand prize package including free rent for one year as well as legal, marketing, and design assistance from area firms.
Zipcar Versus The Competition : A Comprehensive Perspective On Global Car Sharing, Part III
Part III of a review of the carsharing industry from Seeking Alpha, giving an overview of the not for profit sector.
Sharing Association Announced; Ithaca Carshare Among Founding Members
(printable PDF version)
DC (January 24, 2011)—Eighteen carsharing organizations around the
world have announced formation of an association that sets the
ethical, social and environmental bar for the carsharing industry.
The driving principles of the new CarSharing Association (CSA) focus
on environmental and social impact and responsibility, education,
research and ethical practices (www.carsharing.org).
goals of carsharing organizations in the CSA include reducing the
number of cars on the road, relieving congestion, and increasing
transportation options. Unlike “cars on demand” services, member
carsharing organizations are “transit-oriented” services,
encouraging carsharing as part of a sustainable transportation
network of choices that includes walking, cycling, and transit.
view our carsharing programs as an important public service,
providing mobility that fixed-route transit and active transportation
can't,” said Jennifer Dotson, Executive Director of Upstate New
York's Ithaca Carshare, at 13 vehicles and 1000 members one of the
smallest organizations in the new CarSharing Association. “Ithaca
Carshare and other members of the Association are an important part
of the transit community; enhancing mobility options and sustainable
communities at the same time.”
Association’s member organizations span from Sydney to Halifax to
Minneapolis to Sao Paolo and represent approximately 100,000 members
across the globe. CSA members include innovators of carsharing in
North America, the oldest of which has been operating since 1994.
Unlike traditional car rental, carsharers use vehicles by the hour at
a cost that includes gas, insurance, parking and maintenance. The
CSA encourages closer integration of shared services among member
organizations, including roaming memberships, support of other
sustainable transportation, and facilitation of research.
is a reliable and flexible alternative to car ownership,” states
the CSA’s founding document, “Its mission, vision and values lead
to actions aimed at decreasing individual car ownership, reducing
vehicle distance traveled, improving urban land use and development,
and providing affordable access to vehicles for all constituencies –
including those less able to afford car ownership.”
members have created and agree to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics
and Standards of Practice for carsharing. Key themes include
upholding the association’s social and environmental commitment,
establishing and maintaining standards for the industry, quality of
service to members and stakeholders, and vital public education and
Ithaca Carshare Rolls Past 1,000 Member Milestone
(Ithaca, NY; January 11, 2011) Owning a car is more expensive than most people realize. Local not-for-profit Ithaca Carshare helps address the high costs of driving through sharing. Members can make reservations as short as 15 minutes, allowing them to pay for car use only during the times they actually need it.
“When you own a car, you pay for it even when you’re not using it.” explains member Elisabeth Harrod. “Carsharing encourages you to plan ahead and to combine trips, and it also means you don’t ever have to worry about taking a car to the shop.”
Now in their third year of operation, Ithaca Carshare celebrates successes and welcomes their 1,000th member. The new Easy Access plan, designed for limited-income households, represents a bold stride forward in affordable transportation for Ithacans.
Taking into account car maintenance, insurance, gas, taxes and finance payments, AAA estimates that the average cost of owning a car is $400-650 per month. Ithaca Carshare covers all those costs. The most active Ithaca Carshare drivers spend an average of under $100 per month. For income-qualified Easy Access members, the costs are even lower. For those with low incomes who may be completely dependent on buses and taxis, having affordable access to a reliable car can make the difference in getting to a medical appointment, job interview, or picking up a sick child unexpectedly. Thanks to federal grant funds, the Easy Access plan is available at significantly reduced rates to members within eligible income limits.
Wendy Gutman, a Southside Ithaca resident who walks and bikes frequently, joined Ithaca Carshare on the Easy Access plan this summer when her car was in the shop. “Carshare makes it easy to own one or zero cars and to be able to be simultaneously money and eco-conscious,” says Gutman. “It felt great teaching our kids that even adults need to learn how to share!”
Carsharing is good for the community and the environment too. In a recent study, PhillyCarShare found that each of its cars kept approximately 15.3 private cars off the road. With 1,000 members sharing 13 vehicles, Ithaca Carshare is helping reduce parking and traffic congestion in Ithaca. Carshare members tend to bike, walk, and rideshare for more trips, and also combine daily errands into one trip. This means they drive less than most car owners, which has a positive impact on carbon emissions.
Ithaca Carshare has seen steady growth since day one. Approving its one thousandth active member is an important benchmark for this local not-for profit, showing that carsharing is a viable transportation option. The Ithaca Carshare fleet includes twelve cars and a truck that can be driven anywhere, and are available to members by reservation day and night in convenient locations throughout Ithaca.
Sharing Is Caring:
The Growth of Independent Car Sharing Organizations
By Adam Blair
APA:The New Planner - Fall 2009
With the onset of high oil prices, climate change, and the return of
dense neighborhood development, a new piece of the transportation
puzzle is finally fitting into place. Car sharing - a cheaper and
greener alternative to private automobile ownership - is allowing more
and more people either to give up their cars or forgo buying new ones.
Car sharing allows members to reserve a well-maintained, fuel-efficient
vehicle for only the time they need it, paying just an hourly rate and
a mileage fee.
Car Sharing History
The first modern car sharing organization (CSO) formed in Switzerland
more than 20 years ago. In 1987, two co-ops started independently and
soon merged to create Lucerne-based Mobility Switzerland, still one of
the largest CSOs in the world. With 1,150 hubs and more than 80,000
members sharing 2,250 vehicles, Mobility continues to change the way
that many people travel.1
European car sharing growth has been persistent, with a current
estimate of 70,000 car sharing members in Germany and 60,000 in
Switzerland.2 The success of car sharing in Europe is partially due to
the continent's ubiquitous bicycle culture and extensive networks of
public transportation. In fact, the bicycle's share of local trips is
12 percent in Germany and 10 percent in Switzerland, more than 10 times
higher than in the United States.3
The growth of American independent CSOs - which are typically
established using a nonprofit or cooperative structure - has been more
recent. The first large-scale CSO, CarSharing Portland, opened in
Oregon in 1998 and was subsequently purchased by privately owned,
for-profit Flexcar.4 Soon after, independent CSOs began to crop up
across the country, appearing mostly on the East and West Coasts, with
several in the Midwest.
PhillyCarShare, currently the largest independent American CSO, was
founded in 2002 with only nine members and just two cars. Motivated by
what they viewed as the "inappropriate cost" of automobile ownership,
Philly's founders set out to reduce auto dependency citywide by
providing members with 24-hour access to a fleet of well-maintained,
fuel-efficient cars. Drivers are charged only for the time the cars are
reserved, virtually eliminating the sunk costs associated with
PhillyCarShare grew quickly, boasting 535 members and 13 cars after
just 12 months. Within two years, the organization had reached
financial self-sufficiency and successfully negotiated a contract with
the City of Philadelphia to replace its 330-car municipal fleet,
setting a precedent for CSOs across the country. PhillyCarShare now
serves more than 30,000 members, and hybrid vehicles make up more than
50 percent of the organization's fleet.6
Another independent CSO known for its innovation is City CarShare, an
eight-year-old nonprofit based in San Francisco that serves 12,000
members throughout the Bay Area.7 One of City CarShare's more recent
claims to fame was a 2007 award from the National Organization on
Disability providing partial funding for AccessMobile, America's first
wheelchair-accessible car sharing van.8 Because using AccessMobile is
typically cheaper than a taxi and more convenient than waiting for
para-transit, many people with disabilities have opted to take
advantage of this service.
Sharing in the Queen City
Inspired by the success of CSOs all over the world and the need for
another transportation option in the city of Buffalo, a few University
at Buffalo students (including this author) set out during the summer
of 2008 to create a car sharing program in the city best known to
outsiders for its chicken wings and cold weather.
We spent countless hours that summer conducting market research,
forging partnerships, writing a business plan, and applying for grants.
Our excitement at the thought of car sharing right here in Buffalo was
expressed through our presentations and presence at events and
festivals. More importantly, the idea was well received by local
community leaders and the State of New York. In April 2009 we received
a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development
Authority and New York Department of Transportation, setting Buffalo
CarShare (BCS) on its way to a summer 2009 launch.
In June 2009, BCS was "fully rolling" with four fuel-efficient Toyotas.
Assisted by the grant and support from a local bank, the organization
grew steadily in members and vehicles. By September 2009, BCS had more
than 100 drivers sharing seven cars. With an office in the heart of
Buffalo's Allentown neighborhood, situated across the street from a
subway station, BCS has been exceptionally well received by the
community and continues to grow in members by the day.
For more information on Buffalo CarShare, visit www.BuffaloCarShare.org.
Besides the fact that your parents always told you to share, there are
many good reasons to share a car. While owning an automobile may not
seem expensive every time you jump in your car and turn the key, there
are many fixed costs associated with ownership that drivers usually
don't think about. Consider this: AAA estimates that the average
American driver spends nearly $5,000 a year on fixed costs alone, even
before any miles are driven.9 A figure like $5,000 makes those of us
who don't drive very often wonder why we pay for a car, even when it's
Car sharing allows those who occasionally need to drive the opportunity
to pay for a car when and only when they need it. Fixed costs are
essentially eliminated, freeing drivers from the financial burdens
associated with insurance, maintenance, and gas. The variable cost
structure - "variable" in the sense that the price drivers pay is
proportionate to the time and distance the car is driven - has worked
phenomenally well, saving car sharing members thousands of dollars a
A first-year survey conducted by CarSharing Portland discovered that
members saved an estimated $154 each month on transportation costs.
PhillyCarShare found similar results, with members claiming an average
savings of $2,059 over the course of a year.10
Car sharing won't just save you bucks - it will also help to save the
environment. Because car sharing is designed for those who are able to
walk, bike, or take public transit to most of their destinations, many
car sharing members report driving less than they had before joining a
CSO. A survey conducted by the Transportation Research Board of the
National Academies found that 27.5 percent of respondents reported an
overall decrease of more than 50 percent in their vehicle miles
traveled (VMT) after joining a CSO.11 Decreases in VMT ultimately
result in decreases in air pollution, leaving us with a healthier
Reserve. Get In. Drive.
Thanks to today's technologies, sharing a car is as easy as getting
online. Most CSOs use online reservation systems that are linked to
in-car hardware. The hardware, which is activated by an assigned key
fob, tracks what time the car doors are locked and unlocked, how many
miles are driven, and where the reserved vehicle is located.
Most members begin by going online, choosing the preferred vehicle, and
selecting the necessary reservation length. While reservations may be
made well in advance, many CSOs have noticed that most of their
bookings come in just a short time before the reserved time. BCS has
found that during the month of August 2009, more than half of all
reservations were made less than two hours before the reserved time.
After making a reservation, car sharing members simply walk, bike, or
use public transit to get to the car, swipe their assigned fob, and hop
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start sharing!
Adam Blair is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental
design with a minor in sociology at the University at Buffalo and
expects to graduate in the spring of 2010. After graduation, he plans
on attending graduate school to earn a dual degree in urban planning
and public policy. Blair is a co-founding research associate with
Buffalo CarShare and has also worked as a student assistant with the
Urban Design Project, a university center committed to the research and
practice of urban design.
Carshare gets county award- Sept. 6, 2009
From the Ithaca Journal
The Tompkins County Environmental Management Council has named
Ithaca Carshare the recipient of the EMC's first Transportation
Initiative of the Year Award.
Carshare was cited for its innovative and successful strategies and
collaborations giving its members access to vehicles on an hourly basis
24 hours a day. A study by the Transportation Research Board shows that
for each car-sharing vehicle, nearly 15 privately owned cars come off
the road, leading to less traffic, fewer pressures on infrastructure
and a reduction in climate-altering emissions.
by a council that represents the countywide community is a great reward
because it indicates we're living up to our aspirations -- to provide a
viable service that is bigger than any one institution or group, and is
an integral part of how folks from all walks of life get around," said
Carshare Executive Director Jennifer Dotson.
strength of Ithaca Carshare as an organization comes from the able
leadership of Jennifer Dotson, and the diversity of our board, which
has representation from Tompkins County's MPO, the City of Ithaca,
EcoVillage, Ithaca College and Cornell University," said Carshare Board
of Directors Chairman David Lieb.
EMC is a county-appointed citizen advisory board which advises the
county Legislature on matters affecting the preservation, development,
and use of area resources, and related potential impacts on
environmental quality. The EMC comprises 12 at-large members and 16
municipal members, one designated by each municipality in Tompkins
in the news
YNN Syracuse, "City takes to sharing cars" (PDF)
Ithaca Journal, Ithaca Carshare rolls past 1,000 members (PDF)
WHCU 870AM, "Ithaca Carshare Gets 1,000 Members" (PDF)
The Ithaca Journal, "Students Fuel Carsharing Concept" (link)
IC View, "Taking It to the Streets: Ithaca Carshare" (link)
The Ithaca Journal, "Tompkins group recognizes 82 ‘Signs of Sustainability'" (PDF)
The Cornell Daily Sun, "As Gas Prices Rise, C.U. Works to Limit Consumption of Fuel" by Christopher Kim (PDF)
The Ithacan, "Ithaca Carshare offers sustainable transportation" by Aly Dixon (PDF)
East Hill Notes, "New Transportation Initiatives" by Gary Stewart (Link and Video)
Syracuse Post-Standard, August 12, 2008, "Car-sharing program to launch in Syracuse" (mentions Ithaca Carshare) by Tim Knauss (PDF)
Cornell Daily Sun, August 11, 2008, "Carshare Program Fosters Sustainable Transportation in Ithaca" by Alex Berg (PDF)
Ithaca Journal, July 21, 2008. "Mom gains fitness with pedal vehicle" (mentions Ithaca Carshare) by Linda Stout (PDF)
Cornell Alumni Magazine, July 14, 2008: "Baby You Can Drive My Car"
Hartwick.edu News, July 9, 2008: "Alum Helps Make Roads a Little Greener" by Jennifer Moritz (link)
Ithaca College Intercom, June 27, 2008: “Ithaca Carshare now available on campus” by Marian Brown (PDF)
Ithaca Journal, June 26, 2008: “Ithaca Carshare starts its engines” by Linda Stout (PDF)
Cornell Chronicle, June 26, 2008: "Cornell-supported Ithaca Carshare provides vehicles for pickup at your nearest 'pod'" by Franklin Crawford (PDF)
WSTM NBC3 Central New York, June 25, 2008: "Ithaca's 'Car Share' program” by Kristen Drew (PDF, link with video)
News 10 Now Syracuse, June 25, 2008: "Ithaca Car share program begins” by Allison Lazarz (PDF, link with video)
WTVH Syracuse, June 25, 2008: "Ithaca Carshare" (PDF, link with video)
WENY Elmira, June 25, 2008: "'Car Share' Hits Streets of Ithaca" by Ted Fioraliso (link with video)
WSYR News Channel 9 Syracuse, June 24, 2008: "Ithaca Car Sharing Program Launched 6/25/08" by Tanja Babich (link with video)
Boston Globe, June 24, 2008: "Upstate NY program offers car sharing" (PDF)
CNN Money, June 24, 2008: "Upstate NY program offers carsharing" (PDF)
Forbes, June 24, 2008: "Upstate NY program offers car sharing" (PDF)
Newsday, June 24, 2008: "Ithaca program offers way for residents to share cars" (PDF)
Ithaca Journal, June 24, 2008: "Ithaca Carshare vehicles available for use Wednesday" (PDF)
Syracuse Post Standard, June 21, 2008: "Sharing the ride" by Rebecca James (PDF)
Ithaca Times, November 14, 2007: "Yellow Light - Corporate merger puts brakes on Ithaca Carshare program" Journal news staff (PDF)
Ithaca Journal, November 12, 2007: "Follow file - Carshare in works despite national merger" Journal news staff (PDF)
Ithaca Journal, January 5, 2007: “Carsharing: An idea that deserves an opportunity” by Journal editorial staff (PDF)
Tompkins Weekly, December 18-24, 2006: “Car share effort gets jump start” by Danielle Klock (PDF)
Ithaca Community News, December 12, 2006: “Ithaca car share wins grants” by Elizabeth Bauchner (PDF)
Lansing Star, December 8, 2006: “Ithaca Carshare receives start-up funding” (PDF)
Green Horizon, December 3, 2006: “Carsharing program in Ithaca NY” by Liz Walker (PDF)
Ithaca Journal, December 2, 2006: “Car-sharing group gets state grants to start up in 2007” Journal news staff (PDF)
Ithaca Times, September 6, 2006: “Connecting without cars” by Diana Denner (PDF)
Kitsch magazine, Fall 2006: “Can carsharing help Cornell’s parking crisis?” by Rob Ochshorn (PDF)
Ithaca Times, February 8, 2006: “Easy going: Carsharing is coming to Ithaca” by Wendy Skinner (PDF)
Ithaca Journal, February 2, 2006: “Carsharing: Right time, right place” by Journal editorial staff (PDF)
Ithaca Journal, January 24, 2006: “Ithaca to take a look at car sharing” by Dan Roth and Wendy Skinner (PDF)
The Ithacan, January 19, 2006: “Car-sharing program proposed” by Kara Cusolito (PDF)