What is HOURCAR?
HOURCAR is a local nonprofit car-sharing organization serving the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. We provide our members with convenient, short-term reservations to a fleet of over 60 safe and efficient cars, trucks, and crossovers at more than 50 hubs located in the neighborhoods where our members live, work, and play. We’re dedicated to connecting our members to their families and friends, the services and amenities they need, and the events and activities that make our local community so vibrant and alive.
Our mission, vision, and values.
HOURCAR’s mission is to connect people to their communities through equitable and sustainable shared-use transportation.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, everything we do is in service to that mission. We work for the common good, not just the bottom line. We’re not exploiting markets and extracting value; we’re envisioning a future and working to bring it to the present. We want to live in healthy and connected communities where everyone can get where they need to go in an efficient and sustainable manner.
We live here, too.
We’re across the river, not an ocean. Our office is in St. Paul and our call center is in Roseville. We know who’s playing at the Turf Club this weekend and how narrow the streets are in Uptown in February. We shovel our parking spots and sidewalks when it snows and stock Hourcars with extra washer fluid in the winter. We can jump a car and find the parking brake. When you need help, we pick up the phone.
We’re committed to our community, and that support goes both ways. We work hand-in-hand with great local sponsors to get people where they need to go and support places worth going to. We love the Twin Cities, and we’re proud to do our part in building an efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation ecosystem right here in Minnesota. As a nonprofit, we’re not just in it for the money; we’re in it for the long haul. We provide affordable access to efficient transportation that gets people in our community from A to B to C with lower environmental impact than a traditional network of private, single-occupancy vehicles.
So why carsharing?
HOURCAR alone can’t solve large-scale social and environmental problems like racial inequality and climate change, but we are an important cog in an equitable and efficient multimodal urban transportation system. Car sharing is about using the most efficient tool for each job, while car ownership is about using one very expensive tool for every job. Car ownership encourages car use in almost every scenario because driving seems convenient even when it’s inefficient, like when you get stuck in traffic or can’t find a parking spot. In a multimodal transportation system, people can walk to nearby destinations, bike to mid-ranged ones, and take public transit to popular destinations; however, for better or worse, many trips in the Twin Cities are still best made in a car. That’s where we come in.
HOURCAR is about using a car when you really need it and not when you really don’t. It’s about walking to the corner store, riding the train to work, and driving an Hourcar to visit your Grandma in the suburbs. And yeah, sometimes it’s about money, too. We don’t check your credit score or ask for references. All you need is a reasonable driving record and a debit or credit card on file. We pay for gas, insurance, registration, and maintenance. You pay to use the car and that’s it. You don’t pay to store a car that sits idle and parked for 22 hours a day rapidly depreciating in value. Inefficiency is expensive.
Annual car ownership for 15,000 miles in an average small sedan costs $6,777 and releases 8,515 lbs of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere and the air we breathe. Spending $6,777 on multimodal transportation instead would net you 8 hours of weekly Hourcar use ($4,500), 520 rush-hour trips on Metro Transit ($1,300), a brand new bike ($400), a new pair of shoes ($100), and at least $477 left over.
Okay, so what else could you do with all the money you saved?
How does HOURCAR work?
Find a plan that works for you and submit an application. We’ll process it in 1-2 business days, ensure all drivers meet the qualifications for membership, and send you a Metro Transit Go-to card that you’ll use to scan in and out of the cars. Once you’re approved, your HOURCAR membership gives you access to our entire fleet of vehicles located at hubs across the Twin Cities. You reserve a car online, pick it up from its designated hub, and drop it off at the same hub when you’re done. You share the cars with other members, so you’ll probably become familiar with how they set their mirrors and what radio stations they listen to. Please leave at least ¼ of a tank of gas for the next user, pick up your trash, and take your stuff with you. Don’t forget to turn off the lights. There’s a gas card in the glove box if you need to fill up, and we’ll credit you for your time spent at the pump. If you have any questions or run into trouble, just give us a call.
Where is HOURCAR?
Hourcars are stationed at designated hubs located across the Twin Cities at local businesses like restaurants, credit unions, and co-op grocery stores. Our most successful hubs are in urban areas with lots of people, good connections to Metro Transit, and limited parking—like the downtown cores, college campuses, and medium-to-high-density neighborhoods like Uptown. Find Hourcars at a hub near you, or contact us about hosting an HOURCAR hub at your business, organization, or institution.
Who is HOURCAR for?
HOURCAR is for people who don’t need a car every day but do occasionally need one to supplement their transportation needs. We’re probably not a direct replacement for your 5-days-and-40-hours-a-week, stuck in traffic every day, car commute. We know it sucks, but a better lifestyle is possible with Hourcar. Maybe you take public transit to work during the week, but you still need a car on the weekends to run errands and get groceries. Maybe you’re a freelancer who bikes to a co-working space and needs a car to go meet with clients across town. Maybe you own a small business and want your staff to make pickups and deliveries sometimes, but you hate processing mileage reimbursements. Maybe you’re a college student living near campus and you want to go out without blowing your whole rent check on surge pricing. HOURCAR plans make it easier, cheaper, and more sustainable to get where you need to go.
We’re for working-from-homers and one-car-families, college students and carpoolers, part-timers and transit riders, renters and retirees. We’re here for all of you, and we want to change your lives.
Find a plan that works for you and submit a new application or join an existing account. We’ll process your application in one to two business days, ensure all drivers meet the membership qualifications, and send you a co-branded Metro Transit Go-To card that you’ll use to scan in and out of the cars. Still have questions? We can help with that.