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Self-Help, others drive alt-transportation into Tulare County

Self-Help, others drive alt-transportation into Tulare County

Car-sharing has become a reality in Visalia, Orosi and Dinuba thanks to Self-Help Enterprises, CalVans, and Miocar

By Nancy Vigran
Reporting for the Sun-Gazette

TULARE COUNTY – Some of Tulare County’s neediest residents are getting moving thanks to the effort of a key nonprofit.

Seeing a need for short-term car accessibility, Self-Help Enterprises worked out a car-share plan through Miocar with the aid of CalVans. At three Self-Help multi-family housing units, electric cars are now available for rent by the hour, day or weekend. The cars are owned and managed by Miocar in Hanford. Self-Help has developed the charging stations for their use.

“The state has tons of funding for it,” said Abigail Solis, a senior community development specialist for Self-Help. But, those funds needed to be accessed, which Self-Help took care of. Wasco and Arvin in Kern County are also receiving the service.

“There’s a real need in the San Joaquin Valley,” Self-Help Enterprises said in a released statement. “We try to provide any resources possible to our multi-family units. Transportation was something our residents needed.”

But, Miocars are not only for Self-Help residents. Anyone age 21 or older can reserve and utilize them. It’s just that Self-Help properties is home to them.

Register with Miocar in advance. Then when you know you need a car, login to the website and reserve one for the day and time needed. Each location has two or three electric cars available – BMW’s, Chevy Bolts, and hybrid vans. Insurance, vehicle maintenance and roadside assistance are all included in the rental price.

There is a one-time $20 application fee. Hourly rentals are $4/hour, with daily rentals of $35/day; weekends $45. Being electric there is no gas involved, unless you rent a hybrid van. The vans have been added to accommodate larger families and outings. Up to 150 miles per day are included in the cost, afterward 35 cents per mile will be added.

There are plans to expand, Solis said. Self-Help may be adding more locations as needs arise, and charging stations can be created.

“If our residents have a need, we’d like to provide the service for neighbors in the area,” Self-Help said. 

It’s been about 18 months in the making and residents are excited. 

“There’s no gas money, it’s cleaner with no air pollution, and it’s easy to access,” Solis added.

Self-Help, Miocar and CalVans are holding launch events at each of the car locations. The Dinuba launch takes place on Wednesday, July 17 at Sierra Village, 1375 N. Crawford Ave. and the Visalia launch on Thursday, July 18 at Highland Gardens, 2423 N. Highland St. The community events begin at 7 p.m.

For more information, visit www.miocar.org.

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