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Santa Monica's New Carshare is Free But Plastered in Ads

A new, free carsharing service called WaiveCar has just launched in Santa Monica, but the city isn't 100 percent sure that it doesn't violate any city or state laws. WaiveCars are electric cars that are free for the first two hours ($5.99 an hour after) and advertiser-sponsored, so they're emblazoned with ads, which may sound like no big deal in an increasingly ad-plastered world (and it also might not be a big deal), but the Santa Monica Daily Press says the combination of ads and carsharing potentially puts the company in conflict with "a maze of local and state regulations regarding transportation and mobile advertising." Whoops.

Santa Monica is investigating the company and expects to be doing so for the next couple of weeks. "It's not our intent to interfere with the business, but we do need to take a look at how they'll be operating and whether or not how they propose to be operating would violate the law. When it comes to signs on vehicles … it's important to understand exactly what they're doing," says a rep for Santa Monica's Planning and Community Development department.

WaiveCar launched this month with about 20 little cars. They, like all electric cars, can park for free at SaMo meters (though they have to comply with time limits and other parking rules) and are generally returned to a central lot near Seventh Street and Colorado Avenue. WaiveCar is hoping to eventually branch out to more spots in the LA area with 200 cars, but they're probably going to want to make sure they're legal first.
· Santa Monica vetting new car-sharing service WaiveCar [SMDP]