A Car for Me? No, a Car for We
In an effort to help lower emissions and reduce the congestion associated with the Highway 40 shutdown, both downtown St. Louis and Washington University recently signed on to a new car-sharing program by Clayton’s own Enterprise Rent-a-Car. The program, dubbed WeCar, allows subscribers (for a small hourly fee) to briefly rent hybrid Enterprise vehicles to use for errands throughout the downtown area.
Although I was skeptical of this program at first (most likely because of the fact that I’ve never seen two of the Wash U. vehicles leave their spaces in front of Mallinckrodt Center), further thought has led me to believe that the prevailing joy of this Post-Dispatch piece might not be misguided after all.
WeCar represents the efforts of a private company using its resources to correct a social and economic problem. Enterprise, noting that the Highway 40 shutdown would create monumental traffic congestion in the St. Louis area, is offering a fair and convenient service to St. Louis residents that will make their lives easier. In turn, the company itself earns revenue from the rental fees for the vehicles.
The best part about this, though, is that it is a market correction to a civic problem. A car sharing service may not lower congestion all that much, but it certainly costs taxpayers less than the costs associated with expansion of, say, St. Louis’ Metrolink light-rail system.