26 November 2008

Sunglasses sharing

I was dropping off a car (#15) this evening and fumbling for the overhead light switch when I mistakenly opened the sunglasses holder. Inside I found a pair of sunglasses. Usually this would entail a lost-and-found report and taking the item back to the office, except I then found a note. It read:

HOURCAR shared sunglasses. Left in the car on purpose.

We all know how great it is to share cars, but one of our members is taking it to another level. We at HOURCAR try to foster a sense of community, but that means noting unless the community helps us out. Of course, it seems you are all succeeding at that. So, kudos!

(And if anyone wants to leave sunglasses in other cars, with this type of note, we're all for it!)

By the way, we kind of want to know who left these here. If the member in question wants to email us (info@hourcar.org), go for it. If you want to remain anonymous, that's fine too. But no matter, you're awesome.

12 November 2008

Taking the bus just got easier (thanks to Google)

I've always thought that time passes slowest when you are waiting for the bus. Seconds seem to become minutes; you know you are on a frequent route but until you see the bus or train on the horizon the second hand can't move fast enough. If only you could know exactly when the next bus is coming!

Well, now you can. This summer, MetroTransit launched a tool called "NexTrip" which tracks every bus and train by GPS to tell when they are coming (in real time for the next 20 minutes, scheduled departures thereafter). You can access this information in many ways, including on the MetroTransit website or by calling 612.373.3333, which has live support during the day and automated schedules 24 hours a day (keep pressing 1 when prompted to get the automated schedules).

But perhaps the best way to get the information is on Google Maps. The Twin Cities are now one of several cities in the country where every single bus stop is shown if you zoom in, and if you click on a bus stop, it shows all upcoming departures. Any bus in the Twin Cities. How cool is that?

Here's an example, showing the HOURCAR hub at the Wedge in Minneapolis. If you click the "view larger map" link below and go to Google Maps, you can click on either of those two bus stops to see upcoming trips. It makes taking the bus that much easier; and HOURCAR is there for you when the bus or a bike or your own two feet need a breather.

View Larger Map

07 November 2008


You may remember that we ran a special on election day. It was our hope that one of our politically-connected but car-light members would take advantage and go help people get to the polls or something. Isn't the ultimate car sharing when you use a shared car to share rides with many other people?

It is.

One of our members, Nick Rosencrans, writes:

I was thrilled to see HourCar's promotion on election day. After reading about how I could rent an HourCar at $2.00 an hour and 8¢ a mile, I picked up my telephone. I decided to spend all day volunteering, driving folks who needed a ride to and from the polls.
That night, I drove to the Crowne Plaza in Saint Paul to watch the results come in, along with most media outlets and thousands of other volunteers.

Thanks to HourCar, I was able to drive about a dozen folks to vote, who otherwise couldn't participate in this historic election. Attached are a few pictures I took during the day.

Thanks so much for your service to democracy, to the environment and to the people of Minnesota!

Oh and he took some nifty pictures too:

HOURCAR at the polls.

Nick rockin' the I VOTED sticker.

Nick, thank you for using HOURCAR to help everyone participate in democracy!

[Edit 11/10: As usual, Minnesota led the nation in voting turnout. Ho hum, just another day in the state where nearly 80% of eligible voters go to the polls. Beat that...every other state in the Union!]