CINCINNATI (AP) — City of Cincinnati officials are welcoming the Zipcar business to downtown, saying it will provide convenient and affordable transportation while helping reduce congestion, emissions and parking issues.

The fast-growing Cambridge, Mass.-based car sharing network offers rentals both by the hour and by the day. It will start with six vehicles divided among three locations in the downtown area.

Cars can be reserved with smartphones, besides on the website or by phone. Cincinnati rates will start at $8.50 an hour.

There are already five Zipcars available on the University of Cincinnati campus. The company says it operates in some 20 major metropolitan markets, plus on many college campuses.

Supporters say it provides a good alternative to the costs of owning a vehicle and finding parking in urban and college areas.