This weekend, not once but twice did I see RelayRides vehicles in action. I mentioned RelayRides back in February after returning from the annual Transportation Research Board Conference in Washington, DC, where I overheard friendly banter between their Founder and some representatives of the federal Department of Transportation about the need for better carsharing incentives. After initial success in Boston, the neighbor-to-neighbor carsharing service set out to conquer San Francisco, and now I’ve seen their users conquering the streets of the city as well as those of nature-preserved Marin County. I also recently received a newsletter from Avego, a real-time ridesharing service based in Seattle. They’ve worked to create a critical mass of riders and drivers to facilitate real-time ridesharing to and from the Microsoft campus outside Seattle with their go520 project. How are they getting it? By offering a guaranteed ride in addition to rides arranged on the fly. This will encourage skeptics to try it out, and the hope is that they’ll be satisfied and establish the needed critical mass for the system to run smoothly on its own. They’re well on their way; over 1,000 participants have already signed up.
Lastly, I wanted to mention the launch of Boston’s bikeshare system, Hubway. On July 28th, the system launched with 60 stations and already more than 700 people signed up for an annual membership. Boston currently has about 35 miles of bike lanes, most of which have been built under Mayor Menino’s vision for a more bicycle-friendly city.
- Terra Curtis