Enterprise Carshare, a service offered through the Enterprise Rent-A-Car local network, launched in Salt Lake City this month – bringing its car sharing service to more than 35 U.S. states, as well as regions in Canada and the U.K. In Salt Lake City, the service will provide vehicles at nearly 30 locations throughout the downtown area and on local university campuses, according to the company.
Salt Lake City is the seventh major retail market to offer Enterprise CarShare in the past two years, and the service is now offered on more than 75 university campuses and on 40 government and business campuses nationwide.
Enterprise Holdings, which also includes rental brands like Alamo and National, made headlines earlier this year by acquiring Zimride, the largest ride-matching program in the United States with more than 350,000 users, expanding its reach in the car sharing sphere. The company was also a key sponsor of the Shared-Use Mobility Summit at the University of California, Berkeley last month – further indicating that the company may be ready to go all-in on car sharing.
“We have the experience and resources to make car sharing a success in Salt Lake City,” said Neil Hafer, vice president and general manager for Enterprise in Utah. “With 30 local rental branch offices throughout the region, we also can offer a lower member-to-car ratio than any other car rental or car-sharing company.”
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA), the University of Utah and Utah Valley University are all partners with Enterprise to provide car sharing services to Salt Lake City. Local transit officials said plans for a car sharing service were already in the works and that Enterprise offered the scalability that was necessary to meet demand at low prices.
“UTA took the lead in establishing this program in the Salt Lake area, and Enterprise CarShare offered the most competitively priced option…and has a strong track record of success in other urban markets,” UTA General Manager Michael Allegra said in a press release. “Enterprise already is well established across Wasatch Front, so they have the ability to scale the local car sharing model while meeting demand and maintaining fair prices.”
In keeping with its current model, Enterprise will focus on university campuses and provide a supplement to public transit for other residents. To support the launch, UTA and Enterprise CarShare are promoting the service as an affordable car rental option to help people get around once they get off the train or bus. The local promotion complements a larger national television campaign that includes an Enterprise CarShare commercial, the first national television ad for the car sharing industry.
The continued expansion of Enterprise CarShare indicates that, although the company’s head of corporate sustainability dismissed car-sharing in an article posted on TriplePundit earlier this year, the company is starting to warm up to the burgeoning access economy – or at least beginning to acknowledge that car-sharing services are here to stay.
Image credit: Enterprise Holdings
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Mary also contributes to Earth911; her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands and The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.