Gordon Tokumatsu, Dennis Lahti
In a city like Los Angeles, where car culture once reigned supreme, the car sharing company Zipcar is trying to change the way people get from Point A to Point B. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from USC, a popular place for Zipcar users, for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 3, 2012.
The car culture is changing in Los Angeles, as more people question whether they actually need to own a car, and one company in particular is trying to change the way people get from Point A to Point B.
Unlike traditional rental car companies, Zipcars are parked wherever customers tend to congregate.
The keys are left in the ignition, although the company says the cars can't be started without a client's access card. Once you have one of those, you just find an unused car and slip behind the wheel.
"If I do need to run an errand or go to a meeting or leave campus, Zipcars come handy," said USC student Lev Vanshelbaum.
Gas is included in the rate, as well as insurance, and memberships are sold on an annual basis.
College campuses like USC are a no-brainer, according to general manager Jeff Shields, because many students don't have or can't afford cars of their own.
There are 160 Zipcars in Los Angeles, but there will be many more in the months to come, as Zipcar expands to more communities, Shields said.
"You can live in LA without a car," he said.
It's an idea that appears to be catching on in a city where car culture once reigned supreme.