Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Trying out Car2Go: about the same price as cabs, sometimes more convenient

A few months ago I signed up for Car2Go, the newish shared car service. It's sort of like Zipcar, you reserve a car for a short amount of time, but unlike Zipcar you can drop off the car anywhere in DC that's a legal parking space, and they charge you by the minute. They use only Smart Cars, the little bitty city cars, and you don't have to worry about gas or anything unless it's really low.

So far I've really liked it. I've done a few trips, and in each case it's about the same price as a cab. It seems to be more economical for longer trips -- I took one from Columbia Heights to 22nd Street NE via another friend's house, a total of 6 miles, for $12, which I would assume is cheaper than a cab. Other trips, from G Street downtown to northern Columbia Heights was about $12 (cabs are usually $11-$13 for the same trip), and from 13th and U to northern Columbia Heights for $9, so that's a little more than a cab.

They charge $0.38 a minute, or up to $13.99 for an hour. For longer trips, it goes to $0.45 a minute after 150 miles, or $79.99 for a whole day. You can drive them out of the city (so maybe good for a little road trip), but you have to park them back in the city. You can also park them in residential zoned parking spaces with no problem, they have a deal with the city.

The Smart cars themselves take a little getting used to, the gas and brakes are kind of herky-jerky, and the suspension is really bumpy. They also are quite small -- I had a tough time fitting a big box in the passenger seat -- so they're really only good for you and a friend to scoot around.

There's also sometimes a demand problem -- a buddy who takes them frequently likes to show a map that shows Columbia Heights in the morning as a donut hole where there are no cars. I haven't had a problem finding them, but I've also not used them in the morning rush hour. The evening one has been fine though, I've only had to walk a couple of blocks at most.

In short, I'm a fan. Have you used it? What do you think?


1417cm said...

I like them too for one way trips to non transit places. Supposedly Car2go will have 400 cars now up from 200 or so. So hopefully the demand issue will be lessened. That has been my only complaint.

Anonymous said...

Re: the herky-jerky ride - they have a triptronic transmission, so if you're familiar driving a manual, switch into manual mode. I find it has a MUCH better ride that way!