New Car Sharing Option Well Suited for Georgetown

There’s a new car sharing company in DC, and it may be well-suited for Georgetowners. The company is Car2Go. Once you’re a member, you can grab any of their cars and use them, paying depending on how long you use the car. It’s 38 cents a minute, but the first hour tops out at $13.99, so once you have it for about 40 minutes, the next 20 minutes are basically free. It gets cheaper per minute the longer you keep it.

The unique thing about Car2Go is that there are no “stations” for the cars. They are left wherever the last driver left it. Which means you can pick up the car, drive to where you want to go, and just leave the car wherever (you don’t even need to worry about parking meters or 2 hour limits).

This leads to some degree of uncertainty since the availability of cars depends on other users having driven a car to a location convenient to you. The good news for Georgetowners is that Georgetown is likely to be a place that a lot of Car2Go users will end up driving to. So there should be a decent availability of cars in the neighborhood. While writing this, GM checked the real-time availability map on the company’s website, and there were seven cars available in Georgetown:

Perhaps the best way to think of this service is as a replacement for a cab. If you’re going across town for an evening out, this service is perfect. You just grab a car, drive it to H St. or wherever you’re going and just leave the car there. You can take a cab back home, you don’t need to return the car. Since the charges are only 38 cents a minute, you can get across town for under 8 bucks (without owing any tip).

There are a few huge caveats. First, the cars are all Smart Cars. GM drove a Smart Car across the Austrian Alps during his honeymoon. They’re fun and capable cars, but if you’ve got kids they’re not really an option. Second, the company provides its members with insurance, but it’s incredibly miserly and only covers third party liability. If you damage the car at all, you’re on the hook. So it makes more sense if you’ve got you’re own generous insurance coverage.

It’s not perfect and unlike ZipCar it probably won’t encourage too many more people to go car-free, but it’s a good option for those who want to leave their cars at home for whatever reason.

10 Comments

Filed under Transportation

10 responses to “New Car Sharing Option Well Suited for Georgetown

  1. Lauren

    . . . So no 2 hour parking limit? With parking at a premium in georgetown I wonder if this will become an issue.

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  3. There are no parking fees for car2go. They have special zone “9” status. Another option is the app Uber, a car and driver service …. particularly nice on rainy nights or late nights in neighborhoods where cabs are difficult to find.

  4. RNM

    Last I read Uber was considered an illegal operation under DC law. In fact there have been DC stings against the Uber service. But really who cares about laws….

    Beyond the zone parking issues, what about meters? Are you absolved from those as well? For example, if one were to want to drive across town to enjoy a dinner and parking options were all meters…what does one do? Oh, and the other massive shortcoming of this service is the questionable status of a vehicle being nearby and available for a return trip. Still it is nice to read about an endorsement for horseless carriages on this blog.

  5. Topher

    They are exempt from meters too. The only legal spot you can’t leave it in is a rush hour lane. (although you can park there temporarily so long as you keep your session open and keep paying until you move it). I think of it as a replacement for taxis. I took one last Friday over to 14th st. for drinks with my brother. The ten minute ride cost me $3.80 (although it was actually free since you get a free half hour when you sign up). A cab would have been at least twice as expensive and tougher to find. After drinks we took a cab home, since I don’t drive drunk. I could see that by Saturday afternoon someone had already taken out the car we left over there.

    I’m all for options that allow people to reduce their own private car ownership, even if that doesn’t mean replacing every car trip with a non-car trip. It’s about reducing unneeded capacity. This can help reduce that need.

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