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City approves Zipcar expansion

Zipcar’s 156 cars in Providence will generate $110,000 for the city with new contract

The City Council Special Committee on Ways and Means approved a renewed contract with Zipcar April 7 after months of negotiation. The proposed agreement has been forwarded to the City Council for final approval Thursday. 

Zipcar submitted a revised contract for consideration at the beginning of January. The committee began reviewing the changes “several weeks ago,” said David Salvatore, committee chairman. During the process, the committee raised “several concerns and questions” that prompted further negotiations, he said.

Several of the committee’s concerns addressed ways in which to generate additional revenue for the city. The committee advocated for the dispersal of Zipcar parking spaces throughout Providence and asked the company to purchase overnight parking passes that would generate $1,700 for the city, Salvatore said. And the revised agreement stipulates that if a Zipcar occupies a metered spot, the company must pay the city a maximum of $3,570 — the amount of annual revenue a parking meter would have generated.

Zipcars currently occupy seven parking spaces in Providence. The proposed agreement increases the number of spaces to 13, with the possibility of adding a total of four spaces for the second and third years of the three-year contract, bringing the final number of spots to 17 by 2017, Salvatore said.

Zipcar has increased the number of cars registered in Providence to 156, which will generate around $110,000 for the city, Salvatore said. “The committee saw this as a win-win.”

Salvatore said Zipcar elevates the quality of life in Providence, particularly for those who do not own vehicles.“We are a walkable city,” he said. “However, there are times when another mode of public transportation is required.”

The company is “happy to have reached an agreement with the City of Providence’s Ways and Means committee,” wrote CJ Himberg, Zipcar communications and social media coordinator, in an email to The Herald. “We’ll continue to work with the city and universities in the area to reduce pollution, emissions and parking demand in the region through the offering of car sharing,” she added.

The mayor’s administration is “pleased” that the agreement with Zipcar is moving to the City Council for a vote, wrote Meaghan McCabe, deputy press secretary for Mayor Angel Taveras, in an email to The Herald. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability has been involved in the recent negotiations, she added.

While generating revenue for the city, a renewed contract with Zipcar will also “continue providing a valuable transit option that improves our quality of life and makes Providence a more sustainable city,” McCabe wrote.

A previous version of the proposed agreement would have allotted Zipcar the 13 parking spaces and waived the membership fees for 40 city employees who wished to use the service, The Herald previously reported. In the current version of the agreement, city employee fees will not be waived.

If the newly proposed agreement is approved by the City Council Thursday, it will go into effect immediately, McCabe wrote.

Zipcar has a separate contract with the University that will not be affected by the negotiations with Providence, The Herald previously reported.


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