It’s been just over three months since car2go unleashed its army of rent-by-the-minute Smart Four-Twos on Seattle, and judging by the service’s rapid growth (fastest in the US, per car2go), my experience, and the experiences of others I know who use the service, car2go has already become a crucial component of car-free or car-lite living in the parts of the city it serves. This period of time, short for any new business model to catch on with the public, seems like the blink of an eye to those of us who deal regularly with public agencies, where minor and uncontroversial changes like schedule tweaks or bus stop relocations are ordeals of several months duration.
As I promised when I last sat down with CEO Nick Cole to relay the great questions you asked, I’ll be following up with another interview this week. The car2go team were impressed with our smart and well-informed commenters, so I’m turning it back over to you folks for another round of questions and comments. I’d particularly like to hear:
- Success stories: Specifically, ways car2go has made living car-lite or car-free possible or easier; or has allowed you to sell (or seriously contemplate selling) a car. Bonus points if they’re things you’d never have thought of before signing up.
- Useful, detailed criticism: How could car2go be better? While I’ve had no problems with the service, Jarrett Walker has repeatedly encountered an immobilizer firmware bug, and from people who’ve had to refueled a car2go, I’ve heard nothing good about that process; has anyone else experienced these? Are there times and places of chronic unavailability?
I’ve been moving apartments recently, using ZipCar SUVs and ZipVans. These models are hard to find on weekends, and often only available in faraway spots. Especially on Sundays, when most Metro services drop to 30-minute headways, getting across town in a timely fashion on buses is almost impossible, and I don’t feel like hitching my bike up for hours in an unfamiliar parking lot. So, while I never would have thought of this, I’ve used car2go on several occasions to access ZipCars, when the only viable alternative was a more expensive and less convenient cab ride.
The main improvement I’d like to see is one more small expansion of the home area a little further down to Othello in the Rainier Valley, and up north, covering Lake City to 145th St. These strike me as the last areas of the city to remain unserved despite having the level of mixed-use density needed to sustain car2go service. And I still dream of being able to tap in to a car2go with my phone, rather than having to carry another card.
The deadline for questions is tomorrow at noon. Feel free to discuss car sharing generally in this thread.