The city has invested $26 million in the innovative project which seeks to reduce traffic congestion and make it cheaper to get around town. Tel Aviv residents will be able to rent and pick up a car on a smart phone app with just 15 minutes notice.
The municipality will begin the project this summer providing a fleet of 260 vehicles for use within city limits. Notorious for its lack of parking spaces, the city will provide 500 designated spots for the public cars. The sharing system is called Auto Tel and is similar to the Tel-O-Fun bicycle sharing system which has proven to be very successful with 2,000 bicycles in 200 stations around the city.
“Every shared car reduces by four the number of private cars on the roads,” says Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. “In Israel, a project like this is important because 20 percent of the time—Sabbaths and holidays—there is no public transportation.”
Subscribers to the Auto Tel service will pay about $13 a month plus an hourly rate that hasn’t been determined yet. The municipality claims the fees will still be about 30 percent cheaper than taxis.
“Car owners choosing to switch to Auto Tel could save up to $780 per month on their car expenses,” says Huldai. “This initiative is the first of its kind in Israel and it shows that we can all do better. This project should become a national one, and I hope other municipalities will join us in our efforts. This could be the end of the private vehicles era.”