Five months after being purchased by a for-profit rental car giant, PhillyCarShare is showing signs of life.
The car-sharing entity, founded as a nonprofit in 2002 as a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to owning a car, was purchased by Enterprise Holdings in August and retained the PhillyCarShare name. Enterprise has upgraded the fleet of more than 200 vehicles and added 23 new neighborhood locations, including pods at the Navy Yard.
“We had heard from some of our members. They were frustrated with the conditions of the vehicles as well as the higher mileage on the vehicles, so that was one of the first things we did,” said James Callaham, a regional vice president with Enterprise, which also operates the National and Alamo car-rental brands.
Because its has several car-rental centers in the area, the new owners have the ability to expand the PCS fleet as needed, and it will feature its first electric vehicles in the next few months, Callaham said. Members will be able to charge the vehicles at public charging stations or get charging cables they can plug into a standard electrical outlet. PCS was pushed to the brink financially as a result of outstanding back taxes and competition from Massachusetts-based Zipcar. Membership costs $15 per month or $125 for a year, with rental rates starting at $4.45 per hour with a charge of 25 cents per mile.
Despite the new ownership, Callaham said, there are no plans to raise prices in the immediate future, adding, “We’ve had very few discussions about price.”
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