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Rochester car share lets you rent an electric vehicle for $5 an hour

Photo of a Chevy Bolt
Brian Sharp
One of the Flower City Carshare -- or "Floshare" -- program's Chevy Bolts sits at the designated charging station on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Genesee Valley Park before a news conference officially kicking off the city program.

A quarter of Rochester households don't have a car, either because they can't afford one or don't want one.

But they now have the option of an electric car-sharing program for trips to the doctor, the grocery store or other errands.

The Flower City Carshare -- or FloShare, as it’s called -- is touted as the first such program in New York state. Tuesday was the official kickoff, but the program has been operating in a test period the past six months and in the works for more than two years.

There currently are a half-dozen Chevy Bolts positioned at charging stations in Genesee Valley Park, Rochester Regional’s St. Mary’s campus and at the Public Market. Plans are to increase the number and types of vehicles as more dedicated charging stations are built throughout the city.

"It's a little bit more challenging than traditional car sharing, because you have to locate the electric infrastructure," said Creighton Randall with Chicago-based Mobility Development, which the city hired to operate the car-sharing program here. "And unfortunately, that's kind of lacking in all Rochester neighborhoods."

State and federal grants are funding the program. The city is paying for the electricity.

The program is seen as a central piece of Rochester’s climate and sustainability efforts, said Rich Perrin, the city’s environmental services commissioner.

"It also makes our community less dependent on having to own a personal vehicle," he said, "which is clearly critical and absolutely key to closing that equity gap with respect to mobility."

And that, ultimately, is more sustainable for the community, said City Council Vice President Mary Lupien.

"I said the same thing at the Tool Shed opening," she said. "We have to start thinking about not everybody having to own their own XYZ, you know ... what it would mean to manufacture less cars to share more, to share our resources so that we can live in a sustainable future."

Map showing housings without vehicles by ZIP code across the Finger Lakes region
Common Ground Health
Nearly a quarter of Rochester households don't have a car. That is twice the Monroe County average, and three times that of the rest of the Finger Lakes region.

Supply chain issues and a battery recall by Chevrolet have slowed the program launch. Ultimately, the goal is to expand beyond the city.

"There's an interest in bringing the program to the suburbs, and to rural communities as well," Randall said. "The price point that we've worked out here – $5 an hour, or $40 a day – works for a lot of different people for a lot of different things."

Renting a car through an agency for a day typically would cost at least twice that.

The cars have a range of 260 miles in peak weather conditions – which could get you to Albany.

Drivers wanting to reserve a vehicle must be 21, have a valid driver’s license, and a "relatively clean" driving record, Randall said. Booking is done through the Miocar Networks app, downloadable on any smartphone.

Insurance, maintenance and roadside assistance are included. But drivers will be responsible for a deductible if there is an accident.

Brian Sharp is WXXI's investigations and enterprise editor. He also reports on business and development in the area. He has been covering Rochester since 2005. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.