The city of Los Angeles took one more step this week in its ambitious plan to remove up to 100,000 cars from the streets, curb pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and make it easier for residents in some of LA's poorer neighborhoods to get around.
The City Council approved a contract with BlueCalifornia, a unit of French company Bollorè Group, to operate an electric carsharing program that will add 100 vehicles and 200 charging stations to neighborhoods in and around Downtown, Westlake, MacArthur Park, and parts of Koreatown. “Users can check out electric vehicles for single trips or short periods and return the car to any charging station,” according to KPCC.
The five-year pilot program is expected to "recruit a minimum of 7,000 new carsharing users, who in turn are expected to sell or avoid purchasing 1,000 private vehicles, reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2,150 metric tons of CO2," according to the Shared-Use Mobility Center, a national nonprofit organization that has worked with the city to develop the program.
The communities were chosen because they fall in the top 10 percent of those identified as having the lowest incomes and being the most vulnerable to pollution from traffic or industrial sources, KPCC reported.
The pilot program will be paid for with $1.67 million in grant funds from the California Air Resources Board and $1.82 million from the city. Bollorè Group will initially invest at least $10 million.
Bollorè already runs an electric carsharing program in Paris and the BlueIndy EV carshare program in Indianapolis. The LA program will operate as BlueLA, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported. The contract includes three optional two-year extensions.
The contract is the next step in a plan first discussed in 2015 to remove 100,000 cars from the streets over the next five years.
"Carsharing and shared mobility can help expand access to transportation, opportunity and a better quality of life for residents while mitigating traffic congestion and harmful vehicle emissions,” said Sharon Feigon, executive director of the Shared-Use Mobility Center, in a statement.
The electric car ridesharing program is the latest effort by the city to alleviate the growing problems of traffic congestion, pollution and mobility for residents. LA has also developed programs for bikesharing, public transit, carpooling and carsharing.
“Following the recent passage of Measure M, the launch of Metro Bike Share, and other important developments outlined in SUMC’s Shared Mobility Action Plan for Los Angeles County, this project represents another fantastic step forward in creating a network of efficient, environmentally sound transportation choices that work for all Angelenos,” Feigon said.