avlride_2014If you need to get around Asheville, your options are expanding quickly beyond the traditional city bus or cab. The shift is happening on several levels.

Car sharing has already taken hold in big cities, and it is trickling down now to Asheville. What’s happening? The shift was on even before the economic downtown, but that surely had an effect. Add in high gas prices, and an ever-aging U.S. population that needs a little help getting around, and you have just a few of the trends affecting the change. (This Wall Street Journal story also hits on trends, from the starting point of a stark statistic: lagging new car sales.)

Here’s a quick look at moves that are changing the way you will get around Asheville: There’s a UHaulCarShare car parked downtown that’s available for cheap. I’ve seen Uber ads are popping up on websites, asking for Asheville-area drivers. And I’ve heard friends of mine openly wishing for car-share services of any kind, including Lyft and others.

And in Asheville, there’s a local version that’s just launched. A website called avlride.com has just launched. Here’s what happened, according to hackforchange.com:

Hacking in Asheville was kicked off on Friday night, May 30 2014, with a community social session lead by co-organizers Patrick Conant and Heather Seltzer in collaboration with the local Code for Asheville brigade. Code for Asheville invited the tech community, government officials, and different advocacy groups listen to local concerns and ideas, and then brainstorm about what they would create at the hackathon on Saturday. The entire event was focused on one thing – improving the lives of citizens in Asheville.

“We want to re-invent Asheville. We want to give people the freedom to make their city better” said Heather Seltzer as she opened the event.

The City of Asheville is closely collaborating with the event. … This year, they are focused on transportation. The event – called ReRoute AVL – is is bringing together transportation organizations and civic­ minded citizens of Asheville to rapidly conceive, design, and prototype multi-­modal transportation solution apps. The city has already opened up an entire data catalogue and they plan to use a number of other datasets to inform their solution.

The app that came out of that meet-up was avlride.com. More here from hackforchange:

AVLRide uses the mutual trust that exists between people who work together or live in the same part of town. We developed a neighborhood-centric approach to give neighbors and coworkers a comfortable environment to connect with each other, exchange preferences, and, of course, share rides! We developed a project strategy that included a reasonable scope of development with an intense focus on producing a complete and polished product. We wanted our project to be ready for public use immediately, and to that end we devoted a significant amount of effort towards the visual identity, user experience, and practical resources available within the app. Our next steps include integration with Facebook and neighborhood specific social media sites like NextDoor or HomeElephant.

In addition to all that, I’ve heard from some local for-hire drivers that they’re working on organizing to stay competitive will all the car-sharing activity that’s about to pop. The cab companies are also aware, too, and sites like Cabhound offer a way “to take the hassle out of taking a taxi.”

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7 Comments

  1. Are the three previous comments on this post just an amazing coincidence, or some kind of not-very-well coordinated social marketing effort by the company? Either way, it worked, as I now know details about a service now that I had never even heard of before today.

    • luther blissett says:

      I’ve seen the one by Pritchard Park, in what I assumed was a public space, which would be violating the two-hour limit on metered parking if it doesn’t move unless there’s been some kind of deal with the city to grant long-term rights to that space…

    • “I use UHaul Car Share service, and I love it.”

      Now, who’s got my money?

  2. Wow,I first saw a Uhaul carshare vehicle this morning on the way to the office. I wondered how it worked. ‘Explained, same day. I like it. Thanks Ashvegas!

  3. Dane Barrager says:

    I have been using the UHaul Car Share service and am loving it. I am using it today, in fact. It costs $5/hr plus mileage. Insurance and gas are included. Go to uhaulcarshare.com to sign up. Also, be sure to download the iPhone app. It makes the whole process much easier. We have 3 cars downtown available for sharing: 2 at Pack Square and 1 across from Pritchard Park.

  4. There are three UHaul car shares parked downtown as of a couple weeks ago. You can do a quick search on their site for details. The cars never move last I looked.

  5. Looks like there are 3 UHaulCarShare cars available in AVL, all available for $4.95/hr:

    https://uhaulcarshare.com/asheville-nc

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