Zipcar helps steer business downtown

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There is a new way to get around Baton Rouge and leaders believe it's steering business in the right direction. It's also helping locals get around.

With new businesses and hotels popping up on nearly every corner downtown, patrons have parked their cars and are finding creative ways to get around. New to the city streets is Zipcar. Executive director for the Downtown Development District, Davis Rhorer, says it's a quick, convenient, cost-effective way to get around Baton Rouge.

"Take as an example, downtown, where you might have visitors to the city, coming in and staying in a downtown hotel and they want to get to another part of the city. They've got a Zipcar that can easily take them there," said Rhorer.

Zipcars are clearly marked and have their own parking spots downtown and at LSU. All you have to do is download the free Zipcar app, sign up, and pay a fee. It will find your location, the closest car, and give you a code to unlock the door. The cars can be reserved for an hour or days at a time.

Currently, there are four spots downtown and four at LSU. The city and the university get $50 a month for each spot. Councilwoman Tara Wicker says there are plans to bring Zipcars to Southern University next. She says the service is great for visitors, but works well for locals too.

"Three of my children are driving age, so that gives me the ease and convince of having adequate transportation to activities, school events, things of that sort, without having to worry about where they are and how they are going to get there," said Wicker.

But leaders say driving the city's future is part of the bigger picture. They hope keeping up with the speed of cutting edge technology will send a clear message to businesses looking to invest.

"Transportation in Baton Rouge has been an issue for a long time. People have not been able to get to jobs or get around the city, so having Zipcars in the city sends a signal to larger community and larger areas that Baton Rouge is ready for progress," said Wicker.

Zipcar rentals start at $8.50 an hour or $69 per day.

There is a $25 one-time application fee. The annual fee is $70.

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