File photo: A car2go employee shows how members can use a smartphone or iPad app to locate and reserve car2go vehicles on March 22, 2012, in Washington, D.C.
Torrance may get on board with eight other South Bay cities to participate in a car-sharing program that would blanket a 35-square-mile region.
The city's transportation committee gave its recommendation at Tuesday's city council meeting to bring Car2Go to the area and waive some parking restrictions. City leaders discussed the issue for more than three hours. Ultimately, they asked the company, Car2Go, to come back within two weeks with a non-exclusive franchise proposal, which would allow other car-sharing companies to operate in the city, if approved.
The car-sharing service is ideal for short trips, like running an errand to the grocery store, according to the company's business development manager, Walter Rosenkranz.
"You can rent the car on the spot, or reserve one in advance, pick it up and drive it where you need to go and end the rental," Rosenkranz said.
El Segundo, Gardena and Lomita have already signed off on the proposal. Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Lawndale, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach are still mulling the proposal.
If approved, the company would bring 300-350 smart cars to the region. Members would be able to pick up and drop off vehicles anywhere in the "home area" (map, embedded below), including in residential permit areas and metered spots, hence Torrance's proposed exemption for two-hour parking zones.
Some residents Tuesday expressed concerns about the vehicles being parked and picked up at random in their neighborhoods. Others thought another form of transportation wasn't needed in Torrance.
"I'm a senior so the bus costs me 25 cents, which is a fair price," said James McGee, who has lived in Torrance for more than 50 years.
The cars can be rented by the minute, hour or day, with a one-time member fee of $35. Users locate the vehicles using the web and the service's mobile app.
The company currently operates in Austin, Miami, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Washington D.C., and other cities in Europe and Canada.