carsharing | 511 Contra Costa

Carsharing Coming to Richmond and El Cerrito (2015)

CityCarShare_Logo_cmykThanks to a nearly $1 million grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), carsharing is about to become a reality in both Richmond and El Cerrito.
The MTC has awarded a $973,864 grant to fund a program called CarShare4All, a collaboration between City CarShare, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and the Bay Area Climate Collaborative (BACC). The program will deploy vehicles to El Cerrito, Richmond and Oakland, including a wheelchair-accessible van.
“Carsharing is a very important part of our strategy to provide transportation options,” said Kevin Romick, Chair of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, “This project with City CarShare and the Bay Area Climate Collaborative provides critical links to and from public transit, which provides multi-modal travel choices for Contra Costa residents.”
According to a project factsheet released by Richmond Mayor-elect Tom Butt, beyond bringing carsharing to El Cerrito and Richmond, the CarShare4All program will allow City CarShare to expand access to discounted memberships for low- and moderate-income families and increase the availability of wheelchair-accessible vans to its members.
A date for initial service has not yet been released.
For more information about the program, read the CarShare4All fact sheet (posted by Richmond Mayor-elect Tom Butt) or City CarShare’s press release.
For more information on carsharing in Contra Costa County, visit 511CC’s carsharing page.

Getting around the Bay Area during the BART Strike (2013)

Commuters wait in traffic near the Bay Bridge during the first day of the 2013 BART Strike

Image credit: Lorraine Blanco

The last BART strike occurred in 1997 and lasted 6 days. Here is a list of transportation resources during a continued BART strike.

Getting Around

  • KQED put together a great post of transportation alternatives listed by agency. Options ranging from carpooling, biking, taking the bus, ferries and trains are all covered.
  • If you are driving, visit for traffic information.
  • Visit for information getting to and from SFO and OAK.
  • Check out Avego’s busses and vans traveling to SF.
  • Consider using these carsharing services in the Bay Area, including Zipcar and RelayRides.
  • Consider using peer-to-peer taxi services such as Sidecar, Lyft and uberX (some services are SF and/or East Bay only).
  • Consider working from home.

Stay Informed


Peer-To-Peer…Parking? (2013)

Park Sign
Parking this way! Photo credit: S Jones
These days, chances are you’ve heard of peer-to-peer car-sharing a concept that continues to grow in  Contra Costa and allows people to borrow an available car from neighbors on an as-need basis.  The Walnut Creek based firm, Park Circa has developed an app that facilitates shared parking.
A new tool, Park Circa, brings the peer-to-peer concept to parking and lets people use parking spaces when private citizens don’t need theirs.
Here’s how it works, in the words of Park Circa:

If you’re tired of losing 30 minutes of your life to the parking-space hunt every time you go out, this is the App for you. What if your friend who lives near a major transit hub said you could park in their driveway while they were at work as long as you were out by an agreed time?
Park Circa connects people who have empty parking spaces during a set time to people that need them. We enable coordination between neighbors and friends, so that your community resources are optimized for everyone’s benefit. We help organize and publish parking schedules and we facilitate payment between parties, so that people can find parking when they need it and where they need it. Drivers find a place to park, and space owners make some money on their empty driveways. Everyone wins.

The next time you find a convenient parking space near your work or home, check Park Circa, it could be available for you to potentially use! Some benefits of peer-to-peer parking may come intuitively, like the benefit of more efficient use of parking space, but for other benefits Park Circa offers:

  1. Take your space with you – convert your unused space into parking credit that you can redeem when and where you need it
  2. Make money– at $1-3 an hour and an average of four hours per day, you could make between $120 to 360 a month.
  3. Be a hero– help make life easier for your neighbors and fellow citizens, without any cost to yourself.
  4. Improve efficiency of urban resources through utilizing under utilized resources.

There are a handful of parking spaces in Contra Costa County:

park circaAvailable parking spaces. Screen grab via: Park Circa

For additional coverage of the concept, check out a piece on Park Circa at SF Gate or head over to Park Circa’s website

More Car-Sharing in Contra Costa County (2013)

Peer-to-peer car sharing is a relatively new way to help people get around but the concept is rapidly growing in Contra Costa County. If you haven’t checked out car sharing opportunities in your area recently, it may be worthwhile to revisit websites of popular options listed on 511CC’s car sharing page.
See below maps of available peer-to-peer car share opportunities in the East Bay from Ride Relay and Getaround, two peer-to-peer car sharing options that have substantially grown:
Ride Relay car sharing opportunities. Image via: Ride Relay
Car sharing options from Getaround. Image via: Getaround
For more information about car sharing, check out “car sharing” tagged posts and for a full list of car sharing options in the Bay Area, head to our  car sharing page.

Putting A Twist on Ride-sharing, Carpooling

Hey @lyft, looking good @hollymac @dogkiwi.
Catching a ride with someone via Lyft, as indicated by the car wearing an iconic pink mustache. Photo credit: lizasperling
Let’s face it, it was only a matter of time.
You have a smart phone, you just got out of a meeting and want to get across town. So you pull out your phone and within minutes someone comes to pick you up. What is this being described? It’s a new breed of carpool apps in action.
Sidecar, and Lyft are two – in a growing field of – smartphone applications that let you, the user, “fill your car’s empty seats with new friends or need to get across town in a hurry” as Sidecar puts it.  Its modern, real-time, carpooling.
Apps like Lyft and Sidecar are one more tool – in addition to transit, taxi, walking, cycling – in the toolbox to help one get around town in a snap without having to drive your own car.  For drivers, its a way to offset the costs of driving and reduce the environmental impact of your trips.
While Sidecar and Lyft are currently focused in San Francisco, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is partnering with Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) and Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM), piloted a similar app called “Real-Time Ridesharing” or RTR.
Interested in learning more? Find out what these apps are all about: read about Sidecar hereLyft here,  and RTR here.

NPR Looks At Personal Carsharing

It seems these days people are increasingly trying to avoid making trips by car for several of reasons, among them economic motivation. But what are you to do with your car when it’s just sitting there?
Zip Cars!!!!
Photo credit: Lincoln Adams
As you may know, 511CC’s carsharing page was updated to provide current information on how to start carsharing, or sharing your own car to make extra money. Recently NPR took note of the growing trend of personal carsharing with an article titled “Let A Stranger Drive Your Car? More Owners Say ‘Yes’ “. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“It would be difficult for some people to let a stranger drive off with one of their most valuable possessions. But not for Stanford graduate student Katie Hagey.

Hagey is one of a growing number of individual car owners who have started renting their wheels to people they don’t know through car-sharing startup companies resembling the better-known Zipcar.”

The piece continues, exploring how individuals are taking advantage of personal carsharing, and states that so far the concept appears a success for borrowers and lenders alike, before speculating where the concept is heading next.

If you’re interested in reading more, head over to NPR for the full article. And don’t forget you can check 511CC’s carsharing page to find opportunities in your neighborhood to give the concept a try.

511 Contra Costa Helps You Start Carsharing

As cars become more expensive to operate, 511 Contra Costa is proud to unveil a new carsharing page, offering useful information you need to know to start using a carshare program that works for you, and saving on transportation costs!

From Zipcar to City CarShare, RelayRides and Getaround, find out about several opportunities to start using a shared car in your neighborhood when you need it.
Or, if you own a car that you don’t always use, learn how to share it with others and make a little money in the meantime!
Check out our carsharing page to get started.

Get ready for an all-electric car sharing service: Car2go

We’ve posted all about hourly rentals and carsharing with GetAround, RelayRides, ZipCar, and City CarShare, but get ready for a new all-electric car share program – Car2go.
Car2go uses sleek, all-electric cars. Imagine trying to parallel park one of these cars – piece of cake!
The Car2go model is also different than ZipCar or City Carshare. From an article in Fast Company:

Whereas Zipcar requires members to pick up and return cars from the same location, make reservations to rent vehicles in advance, and pay by the hour, Car2go members can rent vehicles by the minute without reservations–and drop off the vehicles at designated points throughout the city.

Car2go rolled out first in Austin, and is now headed for San Diego. In Austin, they claim a Car2go within a 5 minute walk of any point in downtown.
Once you register with Car2go, you’ll receive a special membership card. Look for a Car2go with a green light on the dashboard (available!), swipe your membership card, and hop in. If you need to make a stop, but aren’t done with the reservation, the car will turn its dashboard light red. When you’re finished, just leave it in any public parking space.
Fees start at $0.35 a minute, up to $12.99 an hour or $65.99 a day. Fuel, insurance, parking, and maintenance are covered!
Car2go – redefining the way we think about car usage, one minute at a time.