Local WeCar program sees solid growth during first 12 months of service

Monday, May 2, 2011 at 6:55pm

Approximately one year after its start, Nashville’s WeCar program is faring respectably, with hopes of adding more cars and pick-up sites by this time next year, according to officials with the car-share program.

“Sometime in the second year, a program should achieve sustainability with a fleet,” said St. Louis-based Ryan Johnson, assistant vice president of WeCar and Rideshare “We’re on pace to do that late in the second year [by April 2012].

Johnson said WeCar, which partners with Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the program, is looking to add a brand ambassador by the end of May.

Johnson said WeCar has 90 members (some are business which may have multiple drivers) in its Nashville market. Though the number is not overly impressive, it very respectable, he said, given the downtown-based car-share program essentially lost two months in 2010 right after it started and because of the flood.

“The first year is always the hardest year,” Johnson said.

Johnson declined to note what WeCar officials’ membership goals were for the first 12 months of operation in Nashville. Of note, the company added Lipscomb University about four months ago.

Tom Turner, President and CEO of the Nashville Downtown Partnership, which strongly supports WeCar usage, said membership has grown each month since the launch of the program. 

“Certainly, we had a set-back related to the flood in 2010, but the numbers show we are on track compared with growth in other cities,” Turner said.

Johnson said WeCar is talking to other colleges in the market. It is also looking to add more municipal government and corporate clients to its local membership roster.

WeCar operates in 10 other states and focuses largely on university campus communities and closed-membership company programs. Nashville represents WeCar’s third non-university open-membership downtown market, joining St. Louis and Rockville, Md.