Back to top
Last updated:

Car Share Boston

Car Share Boston offers residents an alternative to personal vehicle ownership. We dedicate parking spaces in municipal lots and on City streets to car-share services.

The City believes supporting wider availability and awareness of car sharing as an alternative to personal vehicles will:
  • decrease individual car ownership
  • reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled
  • make more curb space available for a range of uses, and
  • reduce the City’s rate of carbon emissions.

Have questions? Contact:

Transportation
617-635-4680
1 CITY HALL SQUARE, ROOM 721
BOSTON , MA  02201-2026
UNITED STATES

About the program

about the program

Car Share Boston improves access to car share vehicles. We lease public parking spaces in municipal lots and on City streets to car share operators. In fall 2015, the City of Boston launched DriveBoston. The pilot program licensed 80 public parking spaces to operate vehicle sharing services. During the 18-month initial pilot phase:

  • more than 1 million miles were traveled
  • vehicles were used on average seven hours a day, compared to the average of one hour a day privately owned cars are used, and
  • there was an average of 23 users per vehicle.

Based on the positive outcomes of the pilot program, in 2019 the City re-branded the program Car Share Boston. We also increased the number of parking spaces to up to 250. The City has partnered with Zipcar and Getaround to provide car sharing services. New locations are being added throughout Winter and Spring of 2020.  

  • Car-share operators have exclusive use of each parking space twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week. Non-car-share vehicles and illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed and towed.
  • Car-share vehicles are exempt from street cleaning parking restrictions. But, car-share companies are required to clean and maintain the space to the same frequency.
  • Car-share vehicles are required to be registered in the State of Massachusetts. Branding should be visible on the driver side and rear of car.
  • Car-share operators pay an annual per-space fee of $3,500 in the Downtown and Seaport area, and $2,700 everywhere else. 
  • License fees are based upon anticipated meter revenue and the monthly cost of maintaining a parking space in the City of Boston.
  • The City chooses spaces that will have the largest benefit for residents and the smallest impact on street operations and curb management strategies.
Reduce the Number of Vehicles Owned Per Household

By targeting areas with relatively low miles traveled per day per vehicle, this program aims to reduce the number of privately owned vehicles in Boston. One comprehensive study showed that every shared vehicle replaces as many as thirteen (13) privately owned vehicles. Expanded access to shared vehicles allows households to:

  • scale down from having multiple vehicles
  • forgo purchasing a second vehicle, or
  • replace their personal vehicle altogether.
Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

Overall, car-share drivers travel fewer miles by car than private vehicle owners. This helps to reduce congestion and free up scarce parking resources. Some estimates conclude that each shared vehicle leads to about 18,000 fewer VMT each year. Reducing VMT leads to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Multiply Mobility Options and Encourage Mode Shift

People often make their transportation choices based on their confidence that the trip will be reliable. Even in choice-rich Boston, this often means residents opt to use a personal vehicle rather than take shared or other transportation options. Expanding car sharing to City-managed spaces increases the visibility of car sharing as a transportation option. It can also increase people’s confidence in multimodal trips.

Alleviate Congestion in the Downtown Core and Seaport District

Much of these areas are fairly walkable and well serviced by transit, privately parked car-share vehicles, and bike share. Additional car-share vehicles placed on-street will improve visibility and access to car share services. They will also reduce the number of private vehicles needed to make trips not served by other available modes.  

Fill Transit Gaps

Transit gaps are areas of the City where high frequency transit is outside a half-mile walk. Car-share vehicles improve mobility choices, particularly for those mostly dependent upon public transit.

We will install new Car Share Boston locations throughout winter and spring of 2020. The map below shows proposed locations. As we install locations, the map will update. Locations are subject to change.

 View our Car Share Boston map
 
Why is the City doing this?

To reduce congestion, improve transportation for everyone, and meet our climate neutrality goals. More people will need to shift away from single occupancy vehicles and into public transit, active, and shared modes to achieve those goals. Increasing access to car-share services allows residents to meet their transportation needs without having to own a private vehicle.

What is Car Share?

Car share is a service that gives members access to an automobile for short-term use ― usually by the minute, hour, or day. Car Share Boston is traditional car share. That mean s the car share is a round-trip service, where members borrow and return vehicles at the same location.

What is the benefit of using car share?

For people who only need a car, or a second car, once in a while, car share is much more cost-effective than owning, renting or leasing a private vehicle. As a car-share member, you do not need to worry about paying for maintenance, insurance, and even gas. You also have a dedicated parking space when you pick up and drop off your vehicle. Using car share can save you money, time, and stress. 

Can I park my car in a Car Share Boston parking space?

No. Car Share Boston parking spaces are reserved for participating car-share vehicles. Each parking space is assigned to a specific vehicle. Non-car-share vehicles and other illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed and towed.

What companies are participating in Car Share Boston?

The City of Boston is partnering with Zipcar and Getaround. Not all Zipcar and Getaround vehicles are part of the Car Share Boston program. Only those that are assigned to the Car Share Boston parking spaces are part of the program.

Getaround is a peer-to-peer car share service. how does this work with Car Share Boston?

Car Share Boston spaces dedicated to Getaround will be occupied by fleet vehicles. No private peer-to-peer vehicle will be allowed to use Car Share Boston parking spaces. Should you suspect a private vehicle is using a Car Share Boston parking space, please contact BTD@Boston.gov.

Why are you giving away parking to private companies?

Car Share Boston is a partnership between the City of Boston and car-share operators. Car-share operators pay between $2,750 and $3,500 per parking space, per year, to participate in the program. By partnering with car-share operators, the City of Boston is able to provide more transportation choices to City residents. This moves us towards meeting our goals detailed in Go Boston 2030.

Why choose car share

Lower household transportation costs

Car Sharing provides access to vehicles without annual car insurance, maintenance bills, and unexpected costs. You only pay for as much or as little as you drive.

Shorten your search for parking

Car-share members always have a reserved space to pick up and drop off the vehicle. Adding car-share spaces can also reduce personal car ownership. This benefits all drivers in the neighborhood by lowering the number of cars competing for the curb.

Improving overall access

Car sharing can improve access to services, friends and family, and recreation by making a car available when you need one.

Reduce congestion and improve local air quality

Those who use car-share drive less than those who own their own car. Less driving means cleaner air and fewer cars on City streets.

How to use Car Share

Steps to take
  1. Visit Zipcar.com or Getaround.com, or download their apps.
  2. Sign up as a member and provide required information.
  3. Find a vehicle that works for you.
  4. Book it and go!
Our partners