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You’ve heard of Zipcars, you’ve heard of CarShare, now meet CarsGo.

The city of Austin and car2go have embarked on a car-sharing project that allows city employees access to 200 Smart Fortwo cars for business or personal use.

The project is expected to be expanding to the public at large in mid-2010, according to car2go North America CEO Nicholas Cole. At that time, car2go likely will expand its fleet to about 400 vehicles.

Members of the program do not pay a membership fee. Instead, they pay 35 cents per minute or $12.99 per hour, to cover the cost of driving, insurance, fuel, maintenance and parking. Users can drive the car wherever they like, but must return the vehicle to Austin.

Austin is the first North American city to take part in this, which already exists in Ulm, Germany. I suppose I’d think that programs like this work better in cities that have more extensive and establishes mass transit systems, which make for a larger number of residents who don’t have a car. Not sure how well Austin fits that bill, but clearly the car2go folks think it’ll do. Anyone there interested in this? Leave a comment and let us know.

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