CDTA puts electric car rental program in full gear


ALBANY — The Capital District Transportation Authority is offering up the driver’s seat to the public. Carbon emissions aren’t included.

Chevrolet electric utility vehicles are leasable 24 hours a day, seven days a week starting this month under the DRIVE initiative, CDTA’s takeover of the moribund Capital CarShare program.

“Whether it is a weekend trip, a drive to the grocery store or commuting to work, DRIVE is here to get you where you need to be while reducing your carbon footprint,” said CDTA CEO Carm Basile in a statement. “CDTA will continue to think creatively and imagine innovative transportation solutions for the region as we look towards a more sustainable future.”

Licensed drivers must be 21 years or older and have a clean driving history in order to book a ride online. Renters will get slapped with a $0.35 per mile charge after the first 150 miles of driving. Base rates vary from $5 an hour to $40 a day, in addition to a one-off $20 application fee.

Each vehicle must be returned and plugged into its original docking station after usage.

The 6-vehicle fleet is concentrated in Albany County, but additional hubs could be considered based on demand and charging station access, according to authority spokesperson Jaime Kazlo.

Here are the current locations:

  • 331 Delaware Avenue, Albany
  • 700 New Scotland Avenue, Albany
  • 900 Madison Avenue, Albany
  • 143 Washington Avenue, Albany
  • 175 Green Street, Albany
  • 65 Remsen Street, Cohoes

DRIVE predecessor Capital CarShare launched in 2014 and serviced Albany and Troy until skyrocketing insurance costs led to the program’s demise. By the end of 2020, the non-for-profit group had about 200 monthly rentals and 50 active drivers.

CDTA, interested in reinvigorating the program from the onset of its shutdown, began testing the waters with a three-month, 10-car pilot study last year. Related capital expenses were budgeted for $300,000 in the authority’s 2022-23 and 2023-24 budgets, respectively.

DRIVE is coordinated by CDTA Emerging Mobility Manager and Mobility Development Group.

The 50-plus-year-old transit system within the last 15 years has expanded services beyond its multi-county bus network, putting forth carpool, vanpool, and bicycle rental programs to reach a wider regional audience. CDTA initially planned a full-scale launch of an electric scooter-sharing program last summer, but logistical issues got in the way.

“If you’ve kind of followed the CDTA story over the last decade or so, you will see that there’s really been a shift in going from just a bus-only company to expanding into these newer mobility options,” said CDTA spokesperson Jaime Kazlo. “That’s really because that’s the feedback that we’ve received from the community and a trend we’ve seen across the country is that people want more mobility options.”

Interested in growing its current coverage area, the authority is currently in talks of a potential merger with Greater Glens Falls Transit. CDTA expanded into Montgomery County earlier this year, bringing along with it bike sharing stations across Amsterdam and commuter routes traversing the city, eponymous town and town of Florida.

The group is currently in talks Fulton-Montgomery Community College over a potential commuter route nearly abutting the county’s northern line.

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-527-7659 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.

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