Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

More on Car2Go

I ran the update on car sharing last week, but I published it before I got certain questions answered from Car2Go.  Here are their answers.

To refresh, Car2Go is a one-way" car sharing service.  Unlike two-way car sharing where the car has to be put back in  the same place you picked it up, this means that you can drop off a car in a different location from where you pick it up.

The company pays a high fee per car per year to cover the parking revenue foregone.  But if Car2Go can't get such privileges in a particular city, they aren't able to launch the service.  Hence, it's unlikely they'll ever enter the San Francisco market.
Car2Go - Hazelwell Fordrough, Stirchley - Free Parking
A Car2Go with a marketing message.  UK.  Flickr photo by Elliott Brown.

However, use and parking privileges come with a proviso.  Each city has a "home zone" where the cars can be parked at will and it may or may not be the entire city.  For example, in DC, the home zone of "the entire city" excludes parking privileges in parks and federal installations.  San Diego's home zone is about half the city. Now Seattle's home zone is the entire city, etc.

A car2go on a flooded Austin streetA Car2Go sits partially submerged in the flood zone after days of heavy rain on May 25, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)

What I asked about was how DC membership compared to Seattle and the experience in Brooklyn, in part because in the past DC officials kept saying the city's adoption of sharing technologies is the fastest or greatest in the nation.

.Even so, that's not true with bike share. Membership numbers are up a bit since the introduction, but hover around 20,000 members after almost 5 years.  After launch in Montreal, membership numbers doubled each year for the first three eyars.

Seattle has surpassed DC for Car2Go, even though when launched in DC, Car2Go said the city had the fastest membership growth of all the launches til that time.

From an email exchange with Car2Go/Daimler Corporation:

How does the success of car2go Seattle compare to car2go DC?
  • It’s difficult to make direct comparisons between markets because each of our cities in North America is so unique. That said, we’ve been thrilled with our success both in Seattle and Washington DC. As you mentioned, we recently expanded to cover all of Seattle, adding an additional 250 vehicles to the Seattle fleet. In Washington, we have seen continued membership growth, which now stands at more than 48,000 registered members and a home area of 54 square miles. car2go Washington DC has been so successful that we’re currently engaging in discussions with community leaders around expanding our service in the DC area.
There have been reports that Car2Go is in discussions to try to add access to conurbations in Montgomery and Arlington Counties.

Car2Go Warm Up
Car2Go Warm Up in Seattle by Atomic Taco, on Flickr.

Has membership growth in DC plateaued since launch?
  • We always anticipate seeing the most registrations when we first launch in a new market. However, in the years since our launch in DC, membership has grown steadily as Washingtonians continue to discover the convenience and flexibility of car2go’s unique one-way carsharing model. While I can’t share specifics about how growth rates in DC compare to other markets, we are confident that Washington DC will remain a strong contributor to car2go’s success in North America.
How many vehicles are there in Seattle compared to DC?
  • car2go Seattle’s fleet currently stands at more than 750 smart fortwo vehicles.
  • car2go Washington DC’s fleet consists of 500 smart fortwo vehicles.
When will North American members be able to use car2go in Europe?
  • Presently, members who register in North America are free to use car2go in any of our cities in the U.S. and Canada. Our product team is looking into the possibility of global access, but we don’t yet have a timeline to share.
One advantage of Zipcar is that members in North America are authorized to use the vehicles of the companion service based in Europe.

Can you confirm that car2go Brooklyn launched last fall and has more than 26,000 members, and recently expanded its footprint to 36 square miles?
  • We now have more than 27,000 members in Brooklyn. For your reference, we have 450 smart fortwo vehicles in Brooklyn across the expanded 36 square mile Home Area.
Was the Driver Protection Fee implemented across all markets in North America?
  • That’s correct – we believe the Driver Protection Fee is an important benefit to help protect our members, so it has been implemented across all North American markets.
A $1 charge per trip for the first 90 trips in a year has just been implemented.  My sense is this was probably done in response to higher loss rates from accidents and other damage to vehicles.
Car2Go San Diego
Car2Go at an electric charging station, San Diego by Paul Kimo McGregor, on Flickr.



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