Have you seen those pint-sized white and blue “smart” cars around town? Car2Go is a new business in Seattle that changes the model for car sharing services: the best feature of Car2Go is that you can take it on a one-way trip. In contrast, competitor Zipcar requires users to pick up and drop off a car in its designated parking space. Car2Go’s flexibility means that you can walk or take the bus out to a concert, and grab a car for the late-night drive home. Best of all, leave the car parked in front of your house for the next C2G customer to pick up when she needs it.
You can find and reserve a car on the website or through the handy mobile app, or simply walk up to a car and hold your membership card over the reader unit on the windshield to activate the rental. Ready to go! You can also make “stopovers” along the way – handy if you’re using the car to run errands or go shopping – simply take the keys with you so another person doesn’t take the car in the middle of your trip.
There are some rules about where you can park the car at the end of your trip, but with a service area that runs down to Beacon Hill, out to West Seattle, and up to N. 130th Street, there are plenty of places to take a Car2Go. Just don’t leave the car in a bus zone or a commercial lot! On the bright side, you can park in a 2-hour metered parking space without having to feed the meter.
If you seldom need a vehicle, Car2Go is a reasonably priced alternative to owning a car or paying downtown parking fees. The service costs 38 cents per minute, up to $14 an hour. Gas, insurance, and maintenance are all included. There is a one-time fee of $35 to sign up, but they offer occasional promotions that reduce the registration fee or give you free driving minutes as a bonus.
There are already over 300 Car2Go cars in Seattle. With so many of these little smarts tooling around our neighborhood, you are sure to find one when you need it!