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Posted on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

Ypsilanti to introduce 24/7 car-sharing program to residents

By Katrease Stafford

The Ypsilanti community will soon have access to a car-sharing program located downtown through Hertz, which will allow people to rent cars by the hour or day.


The city of Ypsilanti is hoping Hertz will be able to provide one hybrid vehicle for use in its Hertz 24/7 program.

Courtesy Hertz

Assistant City Planner Bonnie Wessler said the Hertz 24/7 program will be available some time in August, although an exact date has not been finalized yet.

The program will begin with two cars being available for rental, but could expand to include more.

"If it's successful, we will look into adding more cars once we have some more usage data," Wessler said.

The cars will be placed in the Washington Street parking lot near the Ypsilanti Transit Center. The city does not foresee any security issues, but will deal with any on a case-by-case basis.

"The transit center itself is pretty safe," Wessler said. "If you look at the statistics, there are not that many larcenies. The AATA does have a security car and security cameras, so we're confident. If anything arises we'll address that."

Wessler said some signage will be placed in the parking lot to signal the program. The city has requested that one of the cars be a hybrid vehicle, but she isn't sure yet what sort of vehicles will be given.

Eastern Michigan University has a similar program in place, Wessler said, which gave the city the idea to try to have the same service available. Wessler said the program is available at no cost to the city.

"Hertz has been in the business of the hourly car rental for a couple of years now, but they’ve been on the Eastern Michigan University campus for about two years now," Wessler said. "So when we saw them we thought it would be a great opportunity to get them in downtown Ypsilanti."

Wessler believes the program will be used by residents who live downtown as well as business owners and EMU students.

"We have a lot of residents downtown where they have one car per household," Wessler said. "A lot of downtown employers and employees either walk or bike to work."

To use the program, users have to sign up to be a member of the Hertz 24/7 program, which has no membership fee. Once signed up, Hertz will either mail out or have a user come in to pick up a key fob allowing them to use the car. The key fob will only work if it's a user's turn to rent the vehicle.

The fees will be similar to other Hertz programs and likely will have a rate of between $6 and $8 an hour, with gas and insurance being covered by the company.

Wessler said users will be able to reserve the car online and pick out a date and time they prefer to rent the vehicle.

Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority Director Tim Colbeck said he's in favor of the program.

"The location that the city wants to put it at would put it adjacent to the transit center," Colbeck said. "It’s a very useful tool for people that rely on public transit. It's nice to have that temporary use (so) accessible."

Colbeck said the idea to have a car-sharing program also was introduced in the DDA's parking study a few months ago, but the city took the lead.

"We have it in our parking study that says this is something that would be a really good tool," Colbeck said We definitely saw this a year and a half ago and thought that this is a good thing."

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Steve Pierce

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:36 a.m.

I'd be happy if the cars were domestic.

Sara Cederberg

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

As a former Philadelphia resident who used a car sharing service & public transit now living in Ypsi, I love this idea! Sure, sometimes your rentals would be cleaner than others - but cars were well-cared for. If Hertz is on top of it, I'm sure this program will be successful!

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

The on-demand car rental/sharing industry is pretty interesting right now. Although I've yet to try any of the services out I've followed the various start-ups pretty closely and it has been interesting to see how expansions by existing like Hertz have compared to the likes of Zipcar that was recently purchased by Avis Has anyone used any of these services on a regular basis? If so, what is your take on them?

harry b

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

I am not sure this will be used by the average person. I like having a car at my disposal as I think most people do. I guess it may work well for people who dont have the means to buy and keep a car.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

This is a cool idea. I hope it works out well.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

"The city of Ypsilanti is hoping Hertz will be able to provide one hybrid vehicle for use in its Hertz 24/7 program." Sounds exactly like the way things are done in Ypsi. Hoping, not actually achieving.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

Unless I'm mistaken, Ypsilanti does not own Hertz.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

This is what our highly compensated staff is working on? They must be kidding! Sounds to me as if the budget axe should be sharpened and put to work on our illustrious planning department.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Car will end up being trashed within 2 weeks....maybe just one.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 10:41 a.m.

Key fob, not key fab...

Katrease Stafford

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

Thanks. The typo has been fixed.