Hartford residents can now use the Getaround app to rent one of three vehicles based at 777 Main (Tony Cherolis / CTNewsJunkie)
Hartford residents can now use the Getaround app to rent one of three vehicles based at 777 Main (Tony Cherolis / CTNewsJunkie)

A Hartford apartment building owner has partnered with a California-based car-sharing company in a move that advocates call a start toward a more sustainable and equitable city.

“It’s a community need. Less vehicles on the road reduces our carbon imprint,” said William Kemp, director of residential services at 777 Main, the apartment building in downtown Hartford that inked the agreement. The new partnership with Getaround puts three vehicles at 777 Main that can be rented through the Getaround app starting at $10 an hour. The vehicles are available for rental by anyone, not just residents of the building.

“We are particularly pleased to partner with multifamily housing leader WinnCompanies and the iconic 777 Main to make Getaround a key enhancement to their extensive sustainability effort,” Getaround spokesperson Kevin Tang said. “We hope to become an important part of Hartford’s transportation ecosystem.”

Getaround’s arrival to Hartford comes at the same time that a company called Superpedestrian has introduced hundreds of electric scooters to the downtown area in a new scooter-sharing service. The scooter service launched Friday afternoon.

The main goal of ride-sharing in Hartford is to help with the city’s sustainability efforts, advocates say, specifically to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads. Hartford and all of Connecticut’s counties are considered to have some of the worst ozone pollution in New England, and traffic congestion causes a portion of the air pollution.

The partnership is a first for Hartford. The only car-sharing previously available was to students at Trinity College and the University of Hartford.

Though Hartford is considered a transportation hub, more than 30% of its households do not have a car, according to U.S. Census data. 

Advocates say the programs will make transportation more accessible to those who cannot afford a car or who do not live near public transit.

“It’s expensive to own a car in Hartford,” Transport Hartford Coordinator Thomas Lefebvre said. “It’s a first step.”

Kemp, who grew up in Hartford, said that he did not have a car for a long time and had to rent. He thinks car-sharing will provide new opportunities for households that identify as low-income or are underrepresented, especially because the rental cars are near transportation avenues like CTtransit. 

“It’s a convenient location for those individuals so they can come out and get those services as well,” Kemp said.

Kemp and Lefebvre both want to see the service expand and be more eco-friendly in the future.

“It’s of course a limited offer with three cars now, and we’d like the cars to be electric,” Lefebvre said.