Due to the strong initial response, the new Flexcar
program at Johns Hopkins will double its fleet of vehicles
later this month.
Flexcar, a national eco-friendly car-sharing program, made
its Baltimore debut at the Homewood campus in March and is
the first of its kind to reach the city.
In the program's first month, 165 members signed up and
used the four vehicles an average of 6.5 hours per day
— statistics that far exceeded expectations. Using
historical benchmarks, Flexcar expected roughly 60 members
and less than an hour of use per day in its fledgling
Davis Bookhart, manager of Energy Management and
Environmental Stewardship in the Office of
Facilities Management, said that the program has been
so successful that the university and Flexcar are looking
into adding a location in East Baltimore sometime this
"It is very exciting and really validates what we all
intuitively suspected, that Baltimore is desperate for good
alternative transportation options," said Bookhart, who
oversees the Flexcar program for Johns Hopkins and chairs
the university's Sustainability Committee. "The response
has just blown us away."
Bookhart said that the majority of users have been
students, but faculty, staff and area residents have also
been very active users.
He attributes the success of the program, in part, to the
parking issues around campus that limit the number of
people who own cars.
"We knew going in that there was a strong customer base.
Parking is tight, and most undergraduates don't own cars.
We also have many visiting scholars and internationals who
are here for a year or so and are very unlikely to buy a
vehicle to use for that short a time," he said. "I think
students love the idea of having access to a car that they
can use for quick shopping trips. Some of the users are
taking the cars for an entire weekend."
Members have 24-hour access to Flexcars for errands or
daytrips. All are environmentally conscious, low-emission
hybrids. The current cars — two blue Toyota Priuses
and two white Honda Civic Hybrid Sedans — have
reserved parking spaces in the Wyman Park Drive Reserved
Lot; Homewood Field Lot; Homewood Museum Lot, next to the
tennis courts; and behind the Mattin Center and Power
Plant. The new cars will also be hybrids and will
be parked in the same lots.
The $35 annual fee is waived for all applicants who sign up
as Johns Hopkins affiliates or as "friends and neighbors"
in designated areas; other first-time applicants pay a $35
fee that is credited back to their account. During the
introductory period, the cars are $6 per hour (a $3
discount from regular rates), a cost that covers gas,
insurance, 150 free miles and 24/7 emergency service.
Using the Web site or a touch-tone phone, members can
reserve a car for any available date and time. The member's
credit card-like "Flexcard" will unlock the vehicle, whose
ignition key is stored in the glove compartment. The
high-tech card ensures that only the person who has
reserved the vehicle can access it.
The program is open to anyone 18 and older. To sign up, go