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The Med City gets another transportation option

Alice Keefe
Created: November 14, 2019 05:45 PM

(ABC 6 News) - A new option for getting around town is coming to Rochester.

 "Just the traffic in downtown is awful," said Natalie Bobick, a student at the University of Minnesota-Rochester.

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 "It can be troubling, especially in the mornings around nine o'clock is the worst time, and that's usually when I have to travel," said Carolyn Saner, a Rochester resident.

 It's not a new problem.

 With thousands of workers and limited parking, traveling downtown on a weekday can be undesirable.

 "It's just a mess sometimes," Saner said.

 The City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center have a new solution.

 "We are bringing a car-sharing program, which is similar to a short-term car rental," said Jaymi Wilson, a project manager for the city.

 It's called HOURCAR. 

 It's a Twin Cities-based company that's bringing five sharable vehicles to the Med City on December 9th. 

 "This is just another option that exists beyond scooters or bikes," said Kevin Bright, energy and sustainability director for Destination Medical Center's Economic Development Agency and the city.

 On a phone or online, people will be able to reserve one of the cars, which will be stationed in parking ramps and lots downtown, and return them to the same spot.

 "To be able to run some errands on an afternoon if you only own one car in your family, or if you don't own a car at all and you're living in an area that doesn't require that," Wilson said.

 The goal is to steer people away from driving their cars, and instead, borrow an HOURCAR.

 "I could see myself using it, especially in the winter months, even just driving from U Square to Discovery Square would be really nice," Bobick said.

 Bright said the cars fall in line with the city and DMC's environmental goals.

 "One of these car share cars, HOURCARs, could replace 15 single-occupied vehicles," she said. 

 There are a few membership options, which make the drives cheaper, but you don't have to have one to rent a car.

 On average, HOURCAR said a trip costs about $10 an hour.

 "What we're doing is giving them an option to not own a car, but still have the option of using one when they need it," Wilson said.

 By adding a few cars, the hope is to get rid of even more.

 HOURCAR currently has 55 cars in Minneapolis and St. Paul.


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