Tag Archives: Flexcar

Still riding…

I’m waiting patiently for Bus Baby to make an appearance (hey, I thought I signed up for 40 weeks–not 41), frightening my fellow passengers, who, it seems, are desperately hoping my water doesn’t break while we’re sharing a seat.

There are several items I failed to report while I was busy attempting to will myself into labor, but I only have the energy to tell you about two of them.

First, the not-so-good news:

Flexcar members will be paying the rental car tax. From a recent Flexcar newsletter:

As you may know, Flexcar has been working with the Department of Revenue to address the application of the State and County rental-car tax to Flexcar members. While we made important progress in educating the Department of Revenue on why car-sharing is different from traditional car rental, we were unable to reach a definitive resolution. The Department determined that it could not exempt car-sharing from the rental-car tax without legislative authority.

Consequently, the Department of Revenue has informed us that we must now begin to collect the rental-car tax effective November 1, 2007. As a result, you will see those taxes reflected in our invoices beginning with any November Flexcar charges. For trips using Flexcars in King County (Seattle, Bellevue, or Kirkland), the rental-car tax will be 9.7%. Use of Flexcar vehicles in Vancouver, WA, will be subject to a rental-car tax of 5.9%.

Guess it’s time to get that “legislative authority.” There’s already a petition circulating.

Now, to cheer us up:

Sustainable Ballard received 436 October “undriving” pledges at their Undriver Licensing booth last month. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Not drive to any destination adjacent to or in downtown Seattle.
2. No driving on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
3. Never drive to the grocery – even if it’s in the middle of the night. [Apparently, this person is familiar with Bus Chick’s Diet Plan.]
4. Walk kids to school, walk to work – back home. Get gear for rain to be prepared!
5. Not replace our 2nd car.
6. Not drive daughter to school, have her take bus.
7. Skateboard to Sunny’s Teriyaki.
8. Not drive at all except for one Flexcar trip on one day. Use bus + foot.
9. Commute 5 days a week by bus or bike. Bike or carpool to church and church meetings.
10. Bus to my volunteer job. Walk to shopping. Get my bike back in riding condition.
11. Ride my bike to school (Ballard to Capitol Hill) one time a week for full quarter.
12. Walk at least 3 days a week rather than driving to the pool.
13. Sell my car! Ride the bus, bike or walk to work.
14. Help my neighbor drive less by organizing a car-share. Bike to work.
15. Walk to Ballard Market + walk/bus for weekend nights out.
16. Not drive to Tacoma or Everett but take the Sounder
17. Use the bus to take my daughter to school at least three times per week.
18. Combine by errands into one trip and make more of my trips on my bike.
19. Prepare to sell our second car – carpool – and look into a bike buggy for errands.
20. Reduce in-person meetings for the organizations I work with, meeting by phone, email, etc.
21. Take the bus to: Seatac Airport, Benaroya Hall. Bike to work more. Get my winter lights installed!
22. Bike to work every day. Do local errands (<1 mile) with bike or by foot. Take public transportation to airport/downtown.
23. Run the dogs at the local parks once a week instead of driving to a farther away park.
24. Ride my bike to the library + grocery store on weekends.
25. Only drive if I am heading out of the city.
26. Carpool or ride the bus to all events throughout the month.
27. Never to use my car in the center of the Ballard neighborhood – always to walk around the neighborhood.
28. Walk or bike to school every day, organize “walk to school” month + help create walking school buses to Adams Elementary.
29. Walk 2x per week instead of drive to coffee. And bus 2x per week to kids’ activities.
30. Not drive on weekend.
31. Drive only when moving furniture, and in all other cases bike or use public transit.
32. Talk to others about the steps we’ve taken to reduce driving.
33. Speak to 6 people about the benefits of not owning an automobile.
34. Drive less and to talk my wife into driving less.
35. Encourage my yoga students to bike, bus or walk to class.

Anyone got an undriving pledge for November? I’ve got 10 Metro “ride free” passes for the person who posts the most inspirational pledge (read: the one I like best).

About that Flexcar tax…

Remember that insane rental-car tax that the state was trying to impose on car-sharing members? It looks like enough of us raised our voices to give the folks at the Department of Revenue pause.

From today’s Flexcar newsletter:

Rental-car tax update
Last month in FlexNotes, we notified you that the Washington State Department of Revenue advised Flexcar that we must begin to collect the 9.7% state rental-car tax from our members on October 1, 2007. Since then, Flexcar and the Department of Revenue have been in discussions on resolutions to this issue. As a result, for the time being, we are deferring collection of the tax. We will be sure to keep you updated on any developments.

Keep your fingers crossed!

The opposite of a tax break for bus riders

Yesterday, Ben from Capitol Hill hipped me to some information that I apparently missed in the September Flexcar newsletter:

Beginning October 1, 2007, car-sharing in Seattle will be subject to a state-authorized, county-administered rental-car tax of 9.7%. This means that Flexcar Seattle members will be charged this 9.7% tax, in addition to the existing sales tax, bringing your total tax amount to 18.7% for any car-sharing usage on or after October 1.

If this ain’t a prime candidate for an Out of Service

What are we* doing here? Are we seriously going to impose a tourist tax on people who live here and are doing their part to get cars off the road?

If you want to know more about the tax increase, check out Alan Durning’s recent post. If you think it’s as silly as I do, sign this petition.

* Note: I still don’t know who’s behind this decision. It certainly doesn’t seem consistent with the philosophy of our county leadership. Can anyone help?

One thing I actually miss about driving

Today I rented a Flexcar (for the first time since January) and brought along two of my favorite CDs for the ride. I have to say, there’s nothing like rollin’ through the streets of your city on a sunny(ish) afternoon, windows down, blasting Erykah Badu’s “Cleva” as loud as it will go.

Somehow, the Schmipod (which has its uses but which I rarely listen to on the bus, as it distracts me from reading and prevents me from eavesdropping) doesn’t compare.

Fellow car-free types: What do you miss about driving?

Flexcar plans to double its fleet

I missed the big press conference on Friday (dang day job!), but KOMO didn’t. Check out this report.

Facts of note:

• The average shared car removes 15 private cars from the road.
• The average Flexcar user spends $85 per month (I spend significantly less) on car use, while the average private car costs $700 a month.
• Flexcar, which started (and is based) in Seattle, now has a presence in 10 cities, including Portland, San Francisco, and L.A.

Did I mention they have Mini Coopers?