Sunday, March 15, 2009

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Expands Atlanta Rideshare Services

Company plans to nearly double metro area fleet of 110 vanpool vehicles in next year; Rideshare helps reduce traffic congestion, vehicle emissions, commuter expenses

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is expanding its Rideshare services in the Atlanta metro area, providing environmental benefits and a hassle-free, cost-saving transportation alternative.

According to a 2008 ranking by Forbes magazine, Atlanta has some of the worst traffic among the 75 largest cities in America, with commuters here spending an average of 60 hours a year on the road. What’s worse, the study reported nearly 13 percent of Atlanta commuters spend more than an hour getting to work. And, according to the American Lung Association, the city ranks as one of the nation’s top 10 for air pollution.

“Ridesharing addresses these issues by helping to alleviate traffic congestion and parking problems, reduce commuter time and costs related to driving to work, and benefit the environment through lower fuel consumption and reduced vehicle emissions,” said Dan Miller, vice president and general manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Atlanta.

Within the next year, Enterprise hopes to nearly double its fleet of vans in the greater Atlanta area, creating a vanpooling capacity that’s equivalent to taking 2,200 cars off the road, Miller said.

Enterprise is an approved vanpool provider through the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA), which assists 13 Georgia counties that exceed Federal Clean Air Act standards for ozone and particulate matter. On average, 1,250 people currently participate in Enterprise’s vanpool program in Georgia each month, making Enterprise one of the largest providers for these services in the state.

“Enterprise’s Rideshare program is an appreciated addition to the area and this region’s efforts to reduce environmental hazards and commuter expenses,” said Dick Anderson, GRTA’s executive director. “Enterprise has a solid background in Rideshare programs in other states, and I am delighted to see Enterprise join with other private business partners to help reap the benefits of competition in providing vanpool service to residents in the Atlanta region.”

In Atlanta, Los Angeles and other markets around the country, Enterprise helps companies create vanpool solutions for their employees, transporting more than 25,000 riders per day. Under a typical company program, seven to 15 co-workers ride together, each paying one low monthly rate. Enterprise provides a late-model, well-equipped vehicle, comprehensive maintenance, roadside assistance, and insurance. Rideshare participants take turns driving.

Nearly 30 companies in the Atlanta area currently participate in Enterprise’s Rideshare program, including Allstate, Coca-Cola, Georgia Power, Google, Home Depot, Sprint and Travelport GDS. In addition, individual commuters can be matched with existing vanpools.

“The program has been especially beneficial for me because my commute is more than 40 miles each way,” said George Dunwoody, a travel manager at Travelport GDS in Cobb County and a commuter with Enterprise’s vanpool. “Riding in the vanpool saves me money, puts less wear and tear on my personal car, and allows us the use of the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes in Atlanta, which reduces drive time.

“The positive environmental impact is also significant based on the cars taken off the road; we typically have about 10 passengers in our van,” Dunwoody said. “Additionally, because we switch drivers, I can read, sleep or catch up on e-mails on the days I’m not driving.”

The Rideshare expansion is just one part of Enterprise’s broader commitment to greener driving in the Atlanta region. In April 2008, the company announced the designation of four “green branches” in Atlanta, where the fleets offer a higher concentration of hybrid gas/electric vehicles and other fuel-efficient vehicles that average a highway fuel efficiency rating of at least 28 mpg.
More recently, Enterprise added a significant number of hybrids at these locations, bringing to 230 the total number of hybrids it offers in the Atlanta area. Customers can now reserve hybrids online or by phone from the four hybrid locations.

“Solving Atlanta’s traffic and air quality issues will require new and creative approaches,” said Mike Williams, director of programs and employer services at The Clean Air Campaign, a Georgia nonprofit that partners with Enterprise to promote vanpooling at employer worksites. “We are pleased that Enterprise is stepping up to provide new services that will certainly make an impact.”

For more information on Ridesharing, call 1-800-VAN-4-WORK or visit www.vanpool.com online.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car – along with National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car – is owned by the Taylor family of St. Louis and has the industry’s most comprehensive environmental sustainability platform, including:

Embracing new, clean technologies – Enterprise recently added 5,000 hybrids to its nationwide fleet, distributing them across nearly 80 “hybrid branches” in 25 markets, including the 10 busiest airports for business travel in the U.S. In addition to the focus on hybrids, Enterprise has designated eight “E85/FlexFuel” branches where as much as 30 percent of the local fleets are FlexFuel vehicles capable of using E85 (a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). In addition, Enterprise fuels those vehicles from a nearby E85 fueling station. Enterprise also has expanded WeCar, its car-sharing program, for corporate customers nationwide.

The world’s largest fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles – Nearly 450,000 cars in the combined Enterprise, National and Alamo fleet average a highway fuel efficiency rating of at least 28 mpg; nearly 230,000 average 32 mpg or better; and nearly 425,000 have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay certification mark – a distinction the EPA grants to vehicles that emit relatively low levels of both regulated pollutants and greenhouse gases such as CO2.

· Customer Carbon Offsets – Enterprise, National and Alamo customers can offset the CO2 emissions of their rental cars by opting to pay $1.25 per rental to fund certified offset projects through TerraPass. The company’s charitable foundation will match customer contributions dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million.

· Research – In 2007, the Taylor family donated $25 million to create the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, where top scientists are working on alternatives to finite fossil fuels by finding new ways to create fuel from renewable, reliable plant sources.


· Conservation – The company’s charitable foundation has pledged $50 million to plant 50 million trees over 50 years through the 50 Million Tree Pledge, a public/private/nonprofit partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service. So far, more than 3 million trees have been planted under the program on public lands in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

All told, over the past several years the Taylor family and their companies have contributed or pledged more than $120 million to environmental initiatives. For more information about the full environmental platform, visit
www.keystogreen.com.

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