Philadelphians get more affordable parking options as prices drop
Philadelpha – The number of people who have used a car rental service to find parking in the city’s priciest neighborhoods has declined to the lowest level in more than a decade, according to the city and an analysis by The Globe and Mail.
The number has been in decline since the city launched its “Homes for Hire” program in 2016, and the number of car rentals on the service has declined from a high of about 5,000 in 2016 to about 4,000 today.
The service offers to rent cars for $1,500 a day and is available to low-income residents in the Philadelphia suburbs.
The city is working with the rental service’s operator, Carpool Philly, to implement its own policies to better serve residents.
“There’s a lot of people out there who are getting really frustrated by the rental price,” said Jennifer Williams, a resident of a neighborhood near the University of Pennsylvania who works with Carpool Philadelphia.
“You’re not going to have a car for a long time, and if you don’t have a job, you’re going to be priced out of your neighborhood.”
Williams said she’s used her Carpool Pennsylvania account twice this year, and both times it’s been filled with cars, one of which she drove herself from Pennsylvania to the United Kingdom.
“It’s a little bit stressful,” she said.
“When I see people walking in and out of cars, they’re just so used to the car that they don’t know how to handle the fact that I can’t.”
The city also says it’s working to increase the number and quality of rental cars available to residents of the city.
It says it plans to have more than 600 rental cars by 2020, and that it will expand the program to more areas.
“The city’s already committed to having at least 500 rental cars for residents, and we’re working to bring in additional vehicles as we build our network,” said Michael Marder, a spokesman for the city Department of Public Works.
“We are actively looking at additional vehicles for use in other parts of the country as we continue to expand our network.”
Carpool Philadelphis said the number one challenge it’s faced is the “high cost of leasing cars.”
Marders said that while the city is committed to increasing the availability of rental vehicles, it also recognizes that “there are some areas where it just doesn’t make sense to rent a car.”
Mardser said that the city has created its own car sharing program and has expanded it to areas that are already underutilized by Carpool.
The mayor’s office is also working to create a new parking app for the service.
“This is something we’re going forward with, but it will be more robust and more accessible,” Mardar said.
Williams said that her experience with the service had been very helpful.
“I can go to a lot different places in the world and get to my destination quickly and easily,” she added.
“And this is a great service that helps me get there quicker.”
The data shows that people who live in neighborhoods with high levels of housing poverty are the most likely to find a rental car, with renters from those areas having the lowest rates of rental car usage.
However, Williams said, people who work in the same neighborhoods as the most car-dependent residents also have the lowest levels of rental rate.
“People who work outside the neighborhoods where the most affordable housing is located tend to have lower rates,” she explained.
Carpools’ rental cars may be cheaper, but the drivers aren’t, Williams noted.
“They’re still not the most convenient or the best car for me to take,” she noted.
However Williams said her experience has not changed her preference for a car.
“If I’m going to rent one, I want to drive it myself,” she concluded.