Rachel Lerman, The Seattle Times ($):

BMW’s car-sharing service is expanding into the Seattle areas it promised to serve when the service launched two months ago.

ReachNow said Tuesday it is now live in West Seattle, Magnolia and parts of Southeast Seattle. The company has also added 150 Mini Clubmans to its fleet, now 520 cars strong.

ReachNow’s service area was limited when it first launched back in April. It’s been good to see more neighborhoods (and the possibility of airport access!) coming along.

I’ve been going back and forth between Car2Go and ReachNow for the past few months. I find the electric BMWs much more fun to drive than the Car2Go Smart cars, though the overall experience of a Smart car is much simpler and more straighforward.  I feel like I have to learn to drive all over again when I get in an i3 or Mini — none of the controls are where I expect them to be.

I’ll probably continue to use whichever service is closer. Hopefully we’ll get some electric Smart cars in the near future.

26 Replies to “ReachNow Expands to More of Seattle”

  1. For the record, I had someone cut me off in a BMW i3 this weekend while he cruised through a traffic circle in QA at 30 mph on a residential street. This is pretty common in the area in general, just the first time I saw someone in a car share vehicle do it.

    Moral of the story? Bad drivers car share too! ;-)

    1. S/he cut you off in the traffic circle? Like you were already in it and they failed to yield as they entered?

    2. Anecdotally it seems that car-share drivers are often driving faster than traffic – perhaps trying to limit their per-minute costs?

    1. Sometimes a car is just the right tool for the job. There’s a difference between picking the right tool for the job and always picking the same tool, not matter the practicalities involved.

      1. True, which is why I support taxis over car sharing. But educate me…

        Because one thing I think needs to be done for rural sparsevilles is to allow transit agencies to contract out and buy taxi scripts for folks in our taxing districts instead of provide expensive demand response & fixed route services. (I have to be a bit vague as I have an advisory role over a transit agency north of Everett.)

    2. Some trips require a car if you are moving cargo. Other trips are so much better in a car (traveling in a group, having a string of short errands to run in a bunch of locations, traveling with someone with low mobility, “last mile” connections) that it’s a stretch to expect people to use transit. Either way, car sharing allows people to have access to a car on the (generally few) occasions they need a car, rather than owning a car 24/7. Give Frank some slack, Joe!

      1. Yeah, sometimes I just really don’t want to interact with a driver, or want to enjoy the isolation of driving. I know it’s fine to just exchange pleasantries and then ride quietly, but driving alone lets you sing along to the radio, be disheveled / ill-dressed after physical activity, etc., and generally be neither seen nor heard.

    3. Both Frank and Martin said in one of the recent podcasts that they live in single-family houses and I think they both have kids. I think they’ve both said they use zipcar, car2go, and/or uber on occasion. Martin talked about how carshares without child seats are problematic for people with little children. There’s also David Lawson and Dan Ryan who lives in Kirkland (a suburb!) and Oran who used to live in Kirkland. And there’s Sam who’s in his own world somewhere. So the top level of STB is not the stereotypical single hipsters in highrises with an ORCA card and no driver’s license. Then there’s asdf2 who seems to use all car options except owning one but still rides the bus a lot.

  2. A Smart Car is a penalty box. Every time I get one from Car2Go, I’m unsure how anyone could ever purchase one after test driving it.

    1. The automatic transmission feels like a stick shift being operated by a 16-year-old first time driver who’s really angry at you and is taking it out on your clutch.

      1. That’s because you’ve described exactly how they actually operate. The car2go smarts use an “automatic manual” that actually has a clutch and pressure plate, versus the torque converter of a traditional automatic. They DO drive terribly…I imagine most privately owned ones are a with manual transmissions, or fully electric drivetrains (a la the San Diego Car2go fleet).

  3. Just a general PSA: be aware of the insurance coverage – it is not the same!

    ReachNow insurance coverage has the state minimum coverage with much lower limits than with Car2Go’s insurance.

    RN: 30/60/10 ($1000s per person / per incident / property damage)

    C2G: 100/300/50

    If you don’t carry personal auto insurance coverage, you could on the hook after that. State minimum coverage doesn’t go very far if there are injuries or the cars involved are expensive or badly damaged. Even if the other driver has underinsured motorist coverage, his/her insurance company may seek reimbursement from you personally.

  4. I drove a Reach Now car once, and was impressed not only with the car, but also with the fact that they didn’t charge me for the 10 minutes I spent fiddling with the controls, trying to figure out how to start it. When I need a car, I usually go for whichever vehicle is closer, which, in practice, usually tends to be a Car2Go. When one of my two endpoints is outside both home areas, I use Lyft or Uber and pay approximately double the cost.

  5. Still waiting for Reach Now to reach the lower income parts of Seattle…then maybe I will care.

    1. At least in South Seattle their rollout has been pretty similar to Car2Go.

      Car2Go: McClellan St, Orcas St, city limits.
      Reach Now: Lander St, Orcas St, ??

  6. IMHO, the “Holy Grail” for both ReachNow and Car2Go is to reduce parking anxiety downtown by having some kind of always available parking spots (in a garage?) and allow cars to be picked up and dropped off at SeaTac.

    1. Wouldn’t everyone driving downtown love to always have a convenient, free place to park? The car sharing companies will have to find some money lying around if they want to always have availability!

      Similarly for the airport… various parking operators, including the port, are making money (or at least recovering money) on cars sitting around for weeks in paid lots. I’m sure the car-share companies could get access if they were willing to pay enough for the space used!

    2. Last night, I briefly experimented with Zipcar’s one way service from the airport. It ended up a failure. I first tried walking to the WallyPark location, then turned around after deciding that the walk did not look particularly safe to do after dark. After waiting several minutes for a shuttle that was supposed to arrive every 5 minutes, I decided to cancel the reservation and ride Link instead. It turned out to be a wise decision, as the pick-up line (which the shuttle would have had to wade through) was backed-up solid about a full mile leading up to the terminal – a line that Link, thankfully, does not have to wait in.

      The conclusion is that car-sharing vehicles at the airport really need to be parked at the airport itself, not a satellite lot, in order to be attractive. If necessary, a small surcharge could be added to trips beginning or ending at the airport to cover the $200-300/month of whatever the port would charge the company for use of its spaces. It wouldn’t have to be much. A $5 airport fee, collected 10 times per space per day would generate nearly twice as much revenue for the port as a car that is parked in the garage, long-term.

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