Meet the folks who make our engines hum along with you.
Our remote access, tech-centric service sure is convenient. You’d never know about all the friendly folks who bring carsharing to your mobile devices and neighborhoods. So check us out and read our stories. You never know. You might find a story that’s about you!
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Early one morning, I was out in the field performing an oil change when a member just happened to be walking by. Startled by my presence, she asked what I was doing. I explained that I am one of five men (dressed in black) maintaining our 300 plus cars for all our members. She responded, "So… y'all are like the Men in Black." And in that moment I did feel like a galaxy defender.
I like to take my family out in a City CarShare car whenever they are visiting from Orange County so they can see the City and learn about carsharing. I always tell them about my job and why I truly think we are making a difference. They used to just think I worked for a car company. It’s great to show them how it works up close and personal.
I don't really have a favorite member story. I've been with City CarShare for a while and I like that I have created a good rapport with our members. When they call there's a genuine friendliness and familiarity that we share and that creates a lot of... little happy moments.
During one of the Pride celebrations, a member came to the booth with a bunch of necklaces that were made by her 10-year-old students. The beads had a rainbow pattern on them, in honor of Pride. She generously gave each of us at the booth a necklace. Mine says “Yay for Gay!” on it. I love that necklace and wear it at every Pride celebration. It reminds me of that member and the mysterious child, a complete stranger, who makes me happy year after year.
When I first joined in 2003, I could not complete a reservation in one of our lime green VW Beetles without someone stopping me and asking, "What is this?" or "How does it work?" After all these years, it's still fun to talk to potential new members about who we are, what we do, and my personal experience.
I remember a member (college student) calling one day back in 2006 asking me how to start a Scion xA. Apparently, her parents owned two Prii and she had learned how to drive with a Prius. And since becoming a member she’d only shared our Prii. So, she was about to drive her first 'regular' car and she was wondering where the push-button was to start the engine. I thought she was joking. She wasn’t. After realizing that she was serious, I could see that turning a key to start a car will be a thing of the past. And because we have so many hybrids in our fleet and a goal to convert 1/2 our fleet to alternative fuels by 2015, I can see the large part were playing to advance the next wave of greener cars.
I got to be there for the official launch of the eBikeShare pre-pilot and witness a member take the first ride. It is really exciting and fun to be part of a team working on the launch of an innovative program such as eBikeShare. On my inaugural eBike ride I cruised around downtown Berkeley and didn’t crash!
I was working at our booth for Earth Day SF at City Hall where I met a member who couldn't quite understand why we were going to offer electric bikes. She questioned, "Aren't electric bikes just for lazy people?" I thought of saying, "No, they're for couch potatoes, pedal purest, and everyone in between." But instead, I explained that the benefits of commuting by ebike are that she could take longer trips, bigger hills, and more groceries without worrying about parking. Not completely convinced, I told her to hop on and take it for a spin. She returned with a huge smile and said, "Now I get it!"
Although I don't interact with members often (working in Fleet), there are a few memorable moments. Once, while I was installing a sign at a Pod, a member returning a car saw me and asked if I worked in the City CarShare office. Confused by her very specific question, I said, "Yes, ma'am I do. Why do you ask?" After exclaiming, "Oh, great!" she told me to wait one moment while she ran to her house across the street. When she came back, she had a box full of plums in her hands. As she handed them to me, she said, "I love City CarShare. We are a community of sharers. Enjoy!"
One member included a really nice letter when she returned the key fob to close her account. It's always great to hear from members who love City CarShare even if they're not with us anymore.
One time a local bakery’s delivery van broke down and they called me to learn about City CarShare. I explained how carsharing could be a great stand-in while they fixed their vehicle. They used our vans for a while with great success and it ended up that even after their vehicle was fixed they kept their account. They were so appreciative of how we helped them that they sent a huge box of cookies!
On St. Patricks Day, I was moving cars from outside City Hall for an event. It was raining and I saw our member pull into the parking space. I waited for him under an umbrella, almost like a valet service. I waited for him to finish his reservation and he looked at me, puzzled, saying, "I had no idea there were actual people behind City CarShare." The look on his face told me that it was this moment that he realized that there are many people working behind the scenes to make his carshare experience possible.
This is more about me as a member, but when I moved to SF my husband signed us up for City CarShare because it was a nonprofit. When I arrived to SFO he picked me up in a MINI and I thought that was so much fun. And then a year later I started working for City CarShare. Having never owned a car, it was a perfect match to go from being a member, to being a member and an employee.
I once, accidentally, left a Fine Young Cannibals CD in a car I checked out. I was really excited when I took a trip in the same car a few weeks later and it was still there!
Music Sharing! When I first became a member, I would leave CDs (initially by accident) in the cars nearest to my apartment. Before I knew it, people were leaving their own CDs/mixes and even providing instructional notes like, “best during scenic road trips.” It definitely created a sense of community via our shared commodities.
I am on the IT team at City CarShare so I don't have any direct interactions with members, but I am a member. I like to bike everywhere and actually don't use the service that often, but there was this one time when there was a crazy blowout sale at a furniture store. So I reserved a City CarShare truck to pick up this awesome coffee table. I couldn't have carried it home on my bike so I loved being able to score a great deal (I got it for nearly 1/2 off!) because I could just grab a truck and go. It's actually great to experience the automated reservation service - that I work hard to maintain - through the eyes of a member.
When I first started working for City CarShare I was working from home as an Emergency Remote Line Operator. My daughter would hear me answer the phone and confidently declare that she would be a better City CarShare representative than me. She would practice by saying, "City CarShare! This is Savannah, how can I help you?" I'd have to shush her or just learn to get her into other activities when I work.