Detroit has plenty of problems to work on these days, but that doesn't mean life can't go on as normal for its residents.
That even extends to introducing the car-sharing schemes found in other big American cities to Downtown Detroit, as popular service Zipcar is doing.
According to The Detroit News, Zipcar says the downtown service will meet "pent-up demand for this type of product in Detroit".
Any of downtown's six thousand residents will be able to sign up, make a reservation and then pay around $8-10 per hour to rent a Zipcar. The company's current range in the Detroit area includes the Ford Focus in hatchback and sedan body styles, and the Ford Escape. Users are recommended to reserve a car 2-3 days before they need a car
For the city itself, it's all about giving residents better transport options.
“Zipcar offers another form of mobility and will supplement public transit and other modes of transportation,” explained Jeff Cranson, director of communications for the Michigan Department of Transportation.
It's particularly aimed at an increasing number of young professionals living and working in Downtown Detroit, and the emphasis is on improving the growing community feel in downtown. "[It] adds to that collaboration and community feel," said Jeanette Pierce, director of D:Hive, a community relations organization in the city.
And naturally, Zipcar says it's environmentally friendly--the company's statistics suggesting each Zipcar takes 15 privately-owned cars off the road and saves 219 gallons of crude oil per year.
Detroit's recent filing for bankruptcy and growing downtown population give the city a chance to almost start afresh--and such a scenario could see Zipcar's move into downtown Detroit as perfectly-timed.
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