Modeling itself after the successful Autolib' service already in practice in Lyon, France, Paris announced earlier this week that by March 2012, at the latest, their Autolib' service will be fully in play.
AutoLib', the electric car rental program, is modelled after the wildly popular Velib' program, whereby citizens, tourists and visitors alike can pick up a bicycle at numerous points around the city, use it for a half an hour, half a day or longer, and then drop it off at another station when they're finished with it. The pick-up and drop-off stations, which function as one and the same, are nearly as numerous as Metro stations.
The program is designed for short-term use for both the bicycle and Auto usage. They're available 24/7. And it is ridiculously cheap. To use an Autolib' car in Lyon prices start at 2,10 Euro for basic car models from Citroen, Peugeot, Toyota. You first purchase a membership for a minimum of one year and on top of that you pay a deposit to cover any possible damages. But you can even take a car between the hours of 11pm and 7 am for free.
On this program, Paris is worlds ahead of, for example, Santa Monica, a city in California, the nation's greenest state, that prides itself on its green transportation policies.
On December 16th the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted in favor of California's nation leading Cap-and-Trade program under AB 32.
Here is what California's Governor had to say about it:
And I'm so proud of this team here because it's one thing when the legislators get together and say AB 32 and here's the bill and they give you these documents that are 1,000 pages long and all this stuff. And then the governor goes out and talks about it and I sign it and we have bill signing ceremonies and all of those things that we had. But then someone has to follow through and make it become a reality and the people you see in front of you here are the people that make this become a reality. I know today, even though we are 10 years away from 2020 but I know today that we will have a reduction of 25 percent of greenhouse gases by the year 2020, only because I have such an excellent team here.
I am thinking that California may just need to take some pages from Paris's playbook on public transportation policy. Especially in cities such as San Francisco, Santa Monica, Pasadena and other such coastal cities that are already readily adaptable to something like the Autolib' and the Velib'.