Santa Monica residents have until the end of this week to sign up for a new program that will pay them to keep a car at home.
The “One Car Challenge” is offering 200 residents up to $599 if they live in a house with at least two cars and are willing to park one of them for five weeks.
Chosen families will receive up to $119.80 each week for five weeks (up to $599 total per household), a free TAP card with $50 of stored value and Metro Bike Share credits worth 5-10 free rides per household.
The Challenge is part of a larger $1.3-million LA Metro Travel Rewards Research Pilot Project funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration in partnership with Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight. County officials said if it proves successful in Santa Monica, they hope to expand the promotion to other parts of Los Angeles.
While the program originates with Metro, it’s being rolled out as a partnership with the City after Santa Monica expressed a desire to be part of the pilot program.
“The ‘One Car Challenge’ is a groundbreaking pilot program set to kick off in November, to incentivize 200 Santa Monica residents to rely on only one car per household,” said a statement provided by Big Blue Bus. “This initiative is a part of Santa Monica’s ongoing efforts to reduce traffic congestion, promote eco-friendly transportation alternatives, and contribute to a more sustainable future.”
In announcing the program, Metro said the concept of paying people to reduce car usage has been effective in other places.
The City of Seattle implemented a similar promotion from 2000-2002.
Participants reduced their drive-alone car miles by 27 percent replacing a solo car trip with a combination of carpool, bicycle, transit and walking. The total number of miles traveled by participants remained the same showing that people were able to maintain all of their previous activities, just with fewer car trips.
According to the Seattle study, families were able to save much of the cash from the stipend when they left a car at home as they only spent about $10 per week on the alternative transit options. The experiment had a lasting impact on those families with about a quarter selling their second vehicle and in a follow up six months later, 80 percent of participants had maintained some level of reduced car usage.
For the Santa Monica program, participants must have two or more cars per household, and be at least 21 years of age.
The Program will last for 12 weeks starting in November. During the program, participants will receive check-in surveys once a week by email and text to track travel behaviors.
Some participants will be placed on a waitlist for seven weeks before they are officially enrolled in the 12-week program. During the waiting period, participants will be required to complete at least three of these weekly surveys to participate in the program at the end of the waiting period.
Sign up by October 6, at bit.ly/Metro1CC