Hey poor bastards! Bad economy got you down? Sitting there in your shanty-town hovel thinking about which of your kids you can pawn off next just to stay afloat? Stop thinking so hard. The answer is Timmy. That little talentless rube is a financial black hole. But if you love your kids, and are thinking of ways to cut back on expenses other than peddling them, may we suggest Occasional Car?
The brain child of Russell Straub and Matt Peterson of Evergreen -- influenced by dozens of other car-sharing services in other cities around the planet -- Occasional Car is not yet off the ground in Denver, but Peterson says they are encouraged by the amount of traffic on their website, www.occasionalcar.com, and hope to have the service up and running by early 2009. Through the site Straub and Peterson will determine which neighborhoods have the most demand for a car and then will place one there for residents to use.
Those who sign up for the service will receive a key in the mail (like a smart card) and will then be able to register to use any Occasional Car around the city for as briefly as a half hour at a time. Rates are $4.95 per hour and twenty-five cents per mile, and users can reserve the car as irresponsibly as a mere minute before they need it. Designated spots around the city will serve as bases for that neighborhood's Occasional Car, and pets are allowed (but you have to clean up after them. And no smoking, pets -- smoking is prohibited.)
And while Peterson points out that a bad economy might help their business, with penny-pinchers looking to cut costs wherever they can -- perhaps by ditching their first or second vehicle -- one of the real benefits of car sharing services is the environmental impact of cutting down the number of cars on the road.
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"This has the potential to have a lot of benefit for the environment but also for the city," he says. "It can cut down on the amount of parking they have to develop when they put up a big business or building."
Car-sharing enthusiasts are already chiming in, with the 80203, 80205, 80206, 80210 and 80218 area codes leading the demand for the service (that's Cap Hill, Cherry Creek, Wash Park and the Highlands, folks), so if you want an Occasional Car in your hood, get on-line and vote now.
Otherwise you'll have no reason to bitch at the results. -- Adam Cayton-Holland