To celebrate Car2Go’s smashing success in Seattle, going from nonexistent last November to the largest fleet in North America (and 3rd largest in the world, behind Berlin and Vienna) just 8 months later, Car2Go is holding a Member Appreciation Event next Wednesday, August 21 from 4:30-8:30pm at 1 Hundred Bistro at 1001 Fairview Ave N.  The location is near the SLU Streetcar terminus, and is also served by Route 70 (71/72/73 after 8pm).

Car2Go will be handing out free memberships, awarding 30 minutes of driving credit for members who bring friends to enroll, will have many more prizes and giveaways, and the restaurant will offer 50% off (food only) for the entire event day. In addition, Car2Go has told me that members will enjoy a standing 20% discount on food at 1 Hundred Bistro indefinitely.

For anyone curious about STB’s strong support of carsharing given our pro-transit mission, a recent comment by d.p. sums it up quite well:

The biggest cost to a car-obsessed society is the space required by all those vehicles. At peak hours, that space is in the moving lanes — Car2Go fails just as hard as private cars and shared-lane public transit when traffic is worst.

But the rest of the time, the problem is the space required to stash cars for long periods of time when stationary. That’s the fatal flaw in [park and ride expectations], and the fatal flaw in your expectation of dedicated car ownership.

Car sharing solves this problem because, in places with enough aggregate demand and multi-directional need, the cars will not sit for long.

Car2Go boasts 50 users for every car they have on the road (24,000 members for 500 cars, eds). Instead of private cars… just… sitting… there… wasting… space… the car becomes a shared amenity.

It’s a 50x more efficient use of a space-intensive resource.

27 Replies to “Car2Go Member Appreciation Event Tomorrow”

  1. Go, d.p.!

    In addition, in the short term, Car2go is also an excellent and virtually-indispensable bandage for the brain damage in much of Metro’s network, e.g. how it’s impossible to get into Queen Anne from Fremont, or Magnolia from Ballard in any half-sensible way.

    1. I made that very point in the coda of my original comment.

      The deficiencies of Metro and the runaway success experienced by car2go in Seattle are not coincidental.

      Less sprawling than Austin, San Diego, or Denver, Seattle has a larger constituency for a lifestyle not dependent on private automobiles. But compared to car2go cities like Washington, DC or Vancouver, Seattle’s transit system fails spontaneous users on a far more routine basis.

      I love the improvement to my quality of life that car2go has enabled. At the same time, it shouldn’t be nearly as necessary as it is!

    2. One thing that at first surprised me about Car2Go is how the service, in some ways, turns the park-and-ride concept on its head. People who live in the suburbs get to drive to a rapid transit line to visit the city, but people in the city can’t easy do that to visit the suburbs because the place in the city where the rapid transit lines go is downtown and parking all day downtown is quite expensive.

      Thanks to Car2Go, using the streets of downtown as a giant P&R lot to take the 554 to Issaquah, Link to the airport, or whatever, has proved incredibly convenient, for a cost that is not much more than what gas alone would have been to drive all the way, yet without the up-front time and hassle of buying the car in the first place. And because other people downtown will have easy access to the vehicle for their trip home at any time, I don’t even have to feel guilty about hogging the street space.

      At some point in the future, upcoming Link expansions should make taking transit into downtown time-competitive with driving during the weekend, but in the meantime, Car2Go is a great stopgap.

  2. Biking from the I-90 trail to U-Village via the Central District/Montlake, I was struck by how many cars were parked during the working day and the *vast* amount of street parking available for Car2Go’s (which can park in Montlake’s RPZ). Car2Go has sooo much potential… Perhaps even ZipCar can join them with a one-way car sharing option? Competition in this space would be wunderbar!

    1. Density of Car2Go parking in Montlake is undoubtedly driven by the inability to end a trip on UW property, but your point is still taken. In my CD/Madrona/Leschi neck of the woods, you could triple Car2Go’s on-street parking footprint and not cause problems.

      1. Some of it could be people taking the 545 or 542 to Microsoft, or the 271 or 555 to downtown Bellevue.

      2. Sorry I wasn’t clear. I was referring to cars in general, not Car2Go cars. My point is that there’s ample room for more Car2Go’s, especially in Montlake where they have the RPZ and a natural connection point.

        Over time, there’s likely room for a competitor too. (Finger’s crossed that ZipCar is taking notice of Car2Go’s success. As much as I enjoy access to Car2Go, it just doesn’t feel as polished as ZipCar’s customer experience.)

        I often take the 271 over to Montlake or the 550 to Rainer Ave Freeway station and grab a nearby Car2Go.

      3. This touches on one of the most striking differences between Car2Go and the station-based bike sharing approach in use in NYC, Chicago, Boston, and many other places. With the bike shares, you need to have an empty space at the station at your destination. Car2Go is not so constrained, and probably doesn’t need nearly as much repositioning.

      4. The need for a repositioning protocol can be more of a feature than a bug.

        Every time a train pulls out of Boston’s North Station during the afternoon rush, a single Hubway-branded van pulls up, collects the 50 bikes that have accumulated in the prior five minutes, and starts redistributing them to emptier docks around the city.

        If only car-share services could so easily break up the excess concentration of vehicles in SLU in the daytime, or will them to return from the fringes of the service area at night.

  3. This is a pretty trivial complaint, but does Car2Go have any plans on “Americanizing” the service further?

    The number one thing is how they present addresses:

    For anyone who’s never seen a European address before, that’s completely backwards.

    Also see: distance in meters, and I feel like there’s something else that I’m forgetting.

    Their “ecometer” seems to be calibrated poorly for Seattle. Driving from downtown up capitol hill KILLS your rating simply because you can essentially never layoff the gas. It eventually gives you a scary warning about canceling your service if you keep it up.

    1. It eventually gives you a scary warning about canceling your service if you keep it up.

      What?? I’ve never seen that one before!

      I’m lucky that I can rely on coasting down Denny from Seattle Center to artificially rack up my Eco score. Then, when sitting at the light at Westlake, I throw the car into sport shifter mode and cross the intersection in second gear. The LCD panel blinks angrily for a few seconds until the computer realizes it’s been traveling up a hill for seven seconds; then it stops admonishing me.

      1. Yeah, if you see that little triangle warning turn red (from yellow), tap it and the warning will be there.

    2. Is it legal to transport a child in a car 2 go? Virtually all of my genuine use case require that it be.

      1. This is what I found in the FAQ for car2go Portland:

        The smart fortwo features highly efficient restraint systems that meet Mercedes-Benz’s passive safety standards. Infant or child restraint systems (booster, infant or child seat) can be affixed properly to the passenger seat by means of the safety belt. A ratchet mechanism locates the tightly pulled safety belt and holds the infant/child restraint system in position. An electronically controlled system will detect the weight of the occupant on the passenger seat or the installation of a child restraint system. The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) determines the appropriate mode of the dual stage, full-size front airbag deployment. For very young passengers for whom an airbag deployment could mean a serious risk, the front and side airbags will be deactivated. A control lamp in the center of the roof panel will show this clearly. Always check the control lamp to make sure the airbags are deactivated for very young passengers. It should be glowing and say “passenger side airbag off.”

      2. I’d use car2go more too if child transport was easier. Given the opportunistic nature of the service, it is highly unlikely that someone will have be lugging a car seat around on the off chance they might need a car2go. One could plan a one way trip, but the risk of not having a easily obtainable return car and then having the haul a car seat around would not be worth it (at least to me). I don’t think there is an easy solution to the problem tho.

      3. Depends on what you’re trying to do. If you’re simply dropping your child off somewhere and immediately going back home, the off-chance availability of a return car is not an issue.

    3. You can switch between metric and imperial units in the app settings (at least in the iPhone version.) I hadn’t noticed the euro-style address issue (but it is the same in the iOS app) since I’m a spatial person and thus use the map view exclusively.

      I have similar issues with the eco-score when I’m in stop-and-go traffic, most notably when climbing Fremont Ave toward 46th St. The gear ratio is atrocious, particularly going from first to second gear, making it nearly impossible to accelerate smoothly in traffic, and your acceleration and cruising score plummet rapidly. At least deceleration scores tend to stay high in that scenario, so I’ve never seen the red warning.

  4. I own a car, I have an ORCA card, a car2go membership, a Zipcar membership, and a good pair of walking shoes. Whichever option is the best choice to get me where I’m going depends entirely on the situation.

    So, no, I see nothing wrong with a pro-transit group supporting carsharing as an option.

  5. I plan on stopping my the member appreciation event and see if someone can finally show me how to work the trunk!

      1. No, it doesn’t. The window pops open a bit, after which you hit the second release and the lower half folds down.

        The problem is that the back looks like a normal hatch, so you (and I, before seeing the video) expect it to open upwards as a single piece. But it doesn’t open that way. It folds down!

        Did you watch the video? It really couldn’t be clearer.

  6. Wish they could do something about the number of cars that end up in the SLU area leaving other parts of the city lacking. Yesterday afternoon I counted 6 Car2Go vehicles along Terry by Mercer yet Cap Hill had none.

    1. Yeah, I’ve never used my membership because every time I’ve tried there have been no nearby cars. Part of this is that I don’t have a normal 9-5 schedule so the commuters take all the cars away in the morning and then they are gone when I need them later in the day.

      1. Because the bus has be pretty well covered for work trips, I find myself using Car2Go mostly on weekends, when the distribution of cars around the neighborhoods tends to be more even. So far, I have used Car2Go exactly once on a weekday and that trip was because I was coming home from the airport (combined with Link, of course).

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