Submission by Creighton Randall – Executive Director Buffalo CarShare:
It’s hard to believe we’ve come this far, and we’re happy to report that Buffalo CarShare is now over 300 members strong. With 10 cars and a pickup truck, we’re well on our way to becoming a staple in this fair city. Looking forward to an exciting 2011, I want to drop a few hints of what’s to come and reflect on this year’s success. I hope you’ll join me at our 2nd Annual Winter Banquet to hear more (details at the end of this post).
Looking back at 2010:
- We were able to purchase a Ford F-150 pickup truck thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. This truck is available to non-profit organizations like the Massachusetts Avenue Project and the YWCA, which use it for everything from loading up compost to moving furniture (although not at the same time). Thanks to this grant, 12 non-profits organizations have been able to expand their good work without taking on the burden of purchasing their own truck – instead they share one.
- While we bid for rights to operate on UB North and South Campus, it wasn’t in the cards. Luckily, we found a good neighbor in Canisius College, who shares our vision for a service that meets the needs of both the campus and community. To date, 15 students, faculty and staff and 11 Hamlin Park residents now utilize the car parked at Jefferson and Delavan. We hope to expand this program in the Spring.
- We also launched three more cars this summer, bringing our fleet to 11, including another Yaris, a Toyota Prius hybrid, and a Mazda 5 Minivan. Our membership has grown to over 300 in just 18 months, and we’re happy to report (based on a Feb. 2010 survey) that we have arguably the most diverse member base of any car sharing organization in the nation, in terms of age, race, and income. This member base was also able to considerably reduce their environmental footprint. We’re committed to a vision for affordable, community-based green transportation that works for just about everyone – see all of the hubs.
Looking ahead to 2011, we hope to do a few things:
- Expand college partnerships. While we grow to meet demand from new members, we hope to work with area colleges to become an option for students looking to minimize the cost of a college education.
- Increase services to businesses and non profits. We expect demand to continue to increase for our Truck, but also see potential for downtown businesses that are exploring ways to help “green” their workforce. In addition, there are a plethora of small non-profit organizations in need of a truck or van from time to time. We hope to add these “specialty” vehicles as demand grows.
- Develop a partnership with BNMC and Green Options Buffalo, including creation of a city-wide bicycle sharing system (think Buffalo Blue Bicycle 2.0). Our vision is that CarShare and bike share could integrated into one seamless system.
- Grow our service to reflect diversity of neighborhoods in which we operate, not just diversity among our membership base. The Lower West Side, Kensington-Bailey, and North Buffalo are all neighborhoods where expansion may soon be viable.
While we may not accomplish everything on this list in the next 12 months, we will press ahead on all points (apologies to queenseyes – no moped-share this year). If you’re looking to get involved, we’re always in need of volunteers and are recruiting for spring internships. We’re also seeking partners to help us expand to new neighborhoods when it gets a little warmer. Give us a ring or an email, we’d love to hear from you. Lastly, we hope to see you at our banquet Friday night! Join us for drinks at 6pm if you can’t stay for dinner. Buffalo CarShare Winter Banquet – Sponsored by Northtown Automotive – Friday (12/17).
Where: The Eights (888 Main Street)
Happy Hour from 6pm to 7:30pm – $3 drafts, $4 wine – donations encouraged .
Dinner (really more like a feast) @ 7:30 – $20 for members, $30 for non-members (tickets required)
Dishes will include Vegan Pad Thai, Eggplant Parmesan, Enchiladas, Roasted Turkey, and much more! Come on by to learn more and meet our staff and members. If you’d like to stay for dinner, please reserve your ticket by calling us at 716-898-0850.