As part of ongoing efforts to reduce vehicle fleet costs, the City of Santa Maria is six months into using a green car-sharing service that is available to the public.
Instead of using a conventional city-maintained vehicle, participating departments lease an alternative fuel FunRide vehicle for a $7.50 hourly rental charge, which includes insurance and fuel.
San Luis Obispo-based FunRide, a private venture with 15 vehicles in the tri-counties, provides exclusively alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles for commuters, businesses, nonprofits, government, visitors and others.
In January, the City of Santa Maria became the first government agency in Santa Barbara County to use FunRide, joining three government agencies in San Luis Obispo County.
Businesses and individuals also are encouraged to use of the program. The Public Library staff reserves use of a FunRide van twice a week to transport books and other materials to its branch libraries in Orcutt and Guadalupe, and twice a month to the branch library in Cuyama — a 120-mile round-trip from Santa Maria. The Recreation & Parks Department intends to use the van for group trips. This is meant to be more cost effective than using an eight-passenger city van scheduled to be retired this summer. This FunRide van runs on gas and on Flex Fuel; other vehicles in its fleet run on natural gas or propane or are hybrids.
To participate in the program, each department pays a one-time $30 fee per employee authorized to drive a FunRide vehicle for city use. After that initial fee, FunRide provides the gas, insurance and maintenance on the vehicles, while letting city employees use them for business-related transportation at hourly rates.
By definition, car sharing is a type of car rental where people may rent cars for short periods of time, hourly or daily. The FunRide vehicle in Santa Maria is parked in the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center parking lot. The general public also has independent access to the FunRide vehicles. During August, FunRide will offer a special promotion to the public.
For more information, click here or call 805.547.2225.
— Mark van de Kamp represents the City of Santa Maria.