Submit Content
Get the latest delivered to your inbox
Privacy Policy

Flexcar and Starbucks Offer Alternative to Daily Commuter Grind

Published 07-16-02

Submitted by Starbucks Corporation

SEATTLE, Washington – Partners (“employees”) at Starbucks Support Center, the corporate offices of Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) have a new, and cleaner way to get around town for business meetings, errands and trips to the company’s roasting plant in Kent (Wash.). Through an expansion of its agreement with Flexcar, Starbucks has added a brand new 2003 gas/electric Honda Civic Hybrid, one of the first of its kind in the Puget Sound region, to the existing fleet of Flexcar vehicles at its corporate offices.

Starbucks has a business membership with Flexcar, an option of Flexcar’s core service offering, a national car-sharing network which provides individual members with access to a fleet of vehicles located throughout several metropolitan areas. Individual members reserve the vehicles for hourly use with Flexcar covering the cost of the car, gas, parking, insurance and maintenance. Members pay only for the time they use the car, and pay nothing when they don’t. Flexcar business members have a range of programs and plans to suit their needs.

Starbucks partners simply reserve and drive one of the vehicles via Flexcar’s 24/7 phone reservation system for their business needs. Flexcar’s central reservation system manages the use and availability of the vehicles, removing the burden of mobility management from Starbucks. Flexcar tracks overall use, including partner use and hours and miles driven. For a simple monthly fee, Flexcar covers the cost of the vehicle, maintenance, gas and overall program management.

An active participant in employer transportation programs, Starbucks has a strong commitment to encouraging partners to leave their car at home. However, because many partners need to be “mobile” to conduct daily business, Starbucks balances these seemingly contradictory goals by offering its partners the Flexcar service. With three Flexcar vehicles on-site, Starbucks partners have a car at the office without driving into work.

“The bottom line for us is that we need our partners to be able to take short trips to meetings and for other business purposes,” said Cathy Garrison, program manager, Transportation/Commute Programs for Starbucks. “Flexcar allows us to continue to encourage taking alternate modes of transportation to get to work, without sacrificing our business mobility needs and commitment to contribute positively to the environment.”

Starbucks Transportation Options Program helps partners identify all available non-drive-alone commute modes to get to work to the Starbucks Support Center. An array of programs and services are offered to partners such as subsidized bus, ferry and train passes; discounted parking for carpools; and incentives or subsidies to commuters to those who bike or walk to work or are dropped off in a carpool. Approximately 26 percent of the Support Center’s workforce participates in a non drive-alone commute mode to work.

“The Flexcar program and hybrid offering is a win-win for the environment and Starbucks,” said Ben Packard, director, Environmental Affairs for Starbucks. “We reduce the number of vehicles our partners use for commuting and offer environmentally friendly, hassle-free mobility for our partners. The Flexcar program is a great example of our quest to minimize our environmental impact across the company.”

The program at Starbucks is part of Flexcar’s Business Membership program, which helps employers reduce the cost and hassle of providing mobility options for employees. Flexcar offers a range of business options, ranging from shared access to the Flexcar fleet up to the placement of dedicated vehicles onsite. In all cases, Flexcar covers the cost of the vehicle, parking, insurance, gas and maintenance, while the company only pays a monthly fee according to use levels.

The 2003 Civic Hybrid uses a small gasoline engine coupled with an electric motor to provide excellent fuel economy and performance, earning an EPA city/highway fuel economy rating of 46/51 mpg with a 5-speed manual transmission. That's about a 30 percent improvement compared to other Civic sedan models, making it the most fuel-efficient five-passenger sedan ever sold in the world.

“We’re thrilled that Starbucks has looked to us to help them with their partner mobility needs,” said Neil Peterson, Flexcar’s President and CEO. “It’s great to see such a major employer make a strong commitment to reducing congestion and pollution in Seattle. We hope that other companies will follow Starbucks’ lead and make a real impact in our region.”

Following a successful European model, Flexcar launched its Seattle operations in 2000, and has since won numerous awards and commendations for its program that reduces congestion, reduces air pollution, reduces energy use, increases use of public transit and contributes to sustainable communities. Flexcar has operations programs in Portland, Washington, D.C., the Bay Area and Southern California.


Headquartered in Seattle, Flexcar’s innovative car-sharing network provides its 6,000 members in five states and the District of Columbia convenient access to a fleet of new and fuel-efficient cars located in more than a dozen cities and counties. With flexible pricing plans, members can reserve and drive any of these cars whenever and wherever they need to, without filling out complicated paperwork, paying for insurance, gas or repairs. Flexcar Business Memberships enable companies to augment or replace their fleet with Flexcar vehicles. Flexcar's modern fleet includes sedans, gas-electric hybrids and specialty vehicles including pickups. Flexcar is a privately held company that has established strategic partnerships with King County (Wash.) Metro, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Parsons Transportation Group and American Honda Co.

Editor’s Note: Correct spelling and punctuation is “Flexcar”; not FlexCar or Flex Car.


Starbucks Coffee Company is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world. In addition to its retail locations in North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim, Starbucks sells coffee and tea products through its specialty operations, including its online store at Additionally, Starbucks produces and sells bottled Frappuccino® coffee drink and a line of superpremium ice creams through its joint venture partnerships. The Company's other brands enhance the Starbucks Experience through best-of-class products: Tazo Tea Company offers a line of innovative premium teas, and Hear Music produces and distributes a line of exceptional compact discs.

Starbucks Corporation logo

Starbucks Corporation

Starbucks Corporation

It's the way we do business Contributing positively to our communities and environment is so important to Starbucks that it's a guiding principle of our mission statement. We jointly fulfill this commitment with partners (employees), at all levels of the company, by getting involved together to help build stronger communities and conserve natural resources.

More from Starbucks Corporation

Join today and get the latest delivered to your inbox