The US city of Raleigh feels a little bit bigger after the introduction of a new by-the-hour car sharing service. An initiative launched by the city, in conjunction with car rental experts Enterprise Rent-A-Car, means that residents can now pick up a vehicle, any time day or night, for whatever their driving need.

The Enterprise WeCar programme was initially designed to meet the needs of students and staff on university campuses. The programme is now available in 17 states across the nation. However, the public initiative in Raleigh is only the third of its kind behind St Louis and Nashville.

Vice president of WeCar operations at Enterprise, Ryan Johnson, said the service provides customers with an easy way to get around whenever they need to. To become a member of the WeCar programme is relatively simple. All customers need to do is register at the website and pay a $50 membership fee, plus a $20 application charge. Reservations for a vehicle can then be made online and a special membership card will grant access to the vehicle. The card is also needed to start the car, as the keys in the glove compartment will not work without it, according to Johnson.

Currently, the WeCar initiative in Raleigh provides two Honda Civics to its members. Both are available for $10 per hour and that price includes fuel, mileage and insurance. The cars are available at Harrington Street’s West Condominiums and the South McDowall Street Enterprise office.

Raleigh’s planning director, Mitchell Silver, said that the new car sharing scheme, introduced by Enterprise, marked Raleigh’s growth as a modern city.