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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University June 11, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 37
More Flexcars Headed to Homewood, East Baltimore A Possibility

Photo by HIPS/Will Kirk

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

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 month.

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 year.

"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 to


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