The City of Tel Aviv has launched a $26 million car-sharing initiative, which will include 260 cars that can be shared by thousands of people every year, reducing both air pollution and car ownership rates.
The first town in Israel to invest in a city-wide shared vehicle fleet, and one of only a handful in the world, Tel Aviv is also the Israeli municipality that pioneered the highly popular city-wide bicycle-sharing system, called “Tel-O-Fun,” in 2011.
Called “Auto Tel,” the new car-sharing service will be operated by Israeli company Car2Go starting this summer. An Auto Tel car can be reserved within 15 minutes, making spontaneous trips possible for anyone.
Subscribers to the Auto Tel service are expected to pay about $13 a month in subscriber’s fees, plus a daily or an hourly rate that hasn’t been determined yet. Still, the municipality claims the rates would be about 30 percent cheaper than taxis.
With over 500 parking spots reserved specifically for these cars all over the city – Tel Aviv is notorious for its lack of parking space – subscribers will be able to leave their Auto Tel car pretty much anywhere across town.
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According to the mayor’s office, similar car-sharing systems in the world have shown that every shared vehicle contributes to eliminating the use of at least four private vehicles. “This is our way of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, but it also reduces the cost of living in the city,” meaning Tel Aviv residents don’t necessarily have to own a car.
According to Tel Aviv’s mayor Ron Huldai, “car owners choosing to switch to Auto Tel could save up to $780 a month on their car expenses.” Huldai, who was joined by Car2Go CEO Gil Laser, spoke at a press conference held yesterday in Tel Aviv.
“We’re in the midst of a transportation revolution,” Laser said. “With 5 million people around the globe already using car-sharing systems, we know that car ownership rates could drop by 20-30 percent.”
Huldai added: “This initiative is the first of its kind in Israel, and it shows that we can all do better. This project should become a national one, and I hope other municipalities will join us in our efforts. This could be the end of the private vehicles era.”
Photos: Kfir Sivan for the City of Tel Aviv