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PhillyCarShare rolls out new office and electric cars

Ten years since launching here, PhillyCarShare (PCS) is still rolling along with innovation, with some recent maneuvers that make their service more convenient, sustainable and in tune with the city it serves.

The company opened up a much more convenient office and customer service center on a stretch of Chestnut St. left vacant by the Borders closing. It has also completely revamped its auto line-up with late model cars and added American-made electric vehicles to their fleet.

The agency opened up an easily-accessible office last month at 13th and Chestnut Sts., in an area that's been punctuated by the shuttering of Borders Books. Previously, PCS members had to trudge up 10 stories at 9th and Sansom Sts. to pick up key fobs or speak to an agent in person.

"The office remains convenient to mass transit but is conducive to walk-in customers so we can better serve immediate customer needs," says Lisa Martini, a spokeswoman with PCS' owner Enterprise Holdings.

Along with PhillyCarShare's new and more visible office, the agency is acquiring new cars that command attention. Martini says the firm is renting four Chevy Volts, which are $39,000 American-made electric cars. All four of the Volts are available to share at 11th and Filbert Sts., which is by SEPTA's Market East Station and Reading Terminal Market.

"PhillyCarShare Volts are being introduced in anticipation of the City of Philadelphia's installation this spring of 18 charging stations in nine locations," continues the spokeswoman. 

Enterprise confirms it's interested in dramatically expanding the portion of the PhillyCarShare fleet that is electric. Martini says she hopes the electric vehicles will tantalize current PhillyCarShare users and lure new people to join the car sharing network. She says the number of electric vehicles that are ordered depends on member feedback. If you're a PhillyCarShare member and you like the Chevy Volt, make sure to let the agency know about it. 

In addition to the electric cars, the resurgent car sharing business has replaced all of its autos and added new pods in Philly. In contrast to many of its older cars that lined city streets just eight months ago, the agency now uses 2011 and 2012 cars, vans, SUVs, and pick-ups. Martini highlights some of the new pods across the city, which were added to Market East, the Navy Yard, Mantua, and Cedar Park. All pods have been removed from SEPTA train station parking lots for the past month while both sides renegotiate their contract. Martini is unable to say when those pods will be restored.

Writer: Andy Sharpe
Source: Lisa Martini, Enterprise Holdings
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