May 2017 marked the launch of the Our Community CarShare Sacramento Program. This new car sharing pilot program, available to low-income Sacramento residents, was great news to Susan Brown and came to her attention at the right time.
“People would come up and say to me ‘oh this (program) would be perfect for you!’ because they knew I had lost my car,” Susan said. “So, I was among the first to sign-up!”
Susan became one of the first residents to benefit from the car sharing program, which offers easy-and-free access to eight zero-emission Kia Soul EVs. Nearly 100 residents of three public housing complexes in Sacramento have signed up with dozens more working through the application process.
The Sacramento Air Quality Management District (AQMD) administers the program as part of CARB’s Clean Mobility Options for Disadvantaged Communities, funded by Cap-and-Trade dollars. Zipcar maintains the car share fleet and reservation systems at program sites.
“This was just heaven sent,” expressed Susan. “Living in senior housing that is for low-income can be depressing. Having accessibility to transportation, private transportation, is so beneficial. You know when people lose their cars, they lose their sense of freedom.”
Fortunately, car sharing helped free her of vehicle worries and she is now able to go to doctor appointments in Roseville and run errands around Sacramento, with so much ease.
Soon the program will soon expand to three more low-income housing communities and offer at least six additional electric vehicles. Additionally, residents will be able to take advantage of subsidies for ride hailing services.
Providing residents of disadvantaged communities access to zero-emission transportation options is one of the main goals of the program. Vehicle emissions contribute more than 70 percent of the pollutants that form ground-level ozone in Sacramento. While the region has made progress, air pollution levels still exceed federal health standards for ozone, high concentrations of which can trigger asthma attacks and damage lungs. Programs like car share play an important role in the fight against air pollution and climate change by reducing transportation-related emissions and serving as a model for others to follow.