Update: I made three trips in total on Friday. The total cost would have been $21.83 (if not for the 30 minutes free). On the second trip, it was hard to find a valid parking spot on the street near my downtown destination (as time limited streets aren’t allowed). Not only did that eat up more time but it also required a longer walk. That evening around 9 pm, I went looking for a Car2Go to get home and ran into further bumps. The mobile app claimed there was a car by the Greyhound Bus Station but I couldn’t find it (walking around that area at night with my iPhone out isn’t the safest thing). Then, I found another Car2Go relatively nearby – but discovered the seat was reclined fully and wouldn’t reset. I had to drive home without a chair back (and the acceleration on this car also was terrible).

Conclusion: Car2Go is a really clever, convenient service for occasional needs. It’s too expensive for regular use. It’s not great for downtown destinations but better for inter-neighborhood driving. It works as advertised but I give it a B- overall.

I tried my first Car2Go rental. The service interests me because it adds a way for me to get downtown and stay for an extended period without paying or worrying about parking (like the bus, just different). I took a short twenty minute trip from my house to Capitol Hill. Parking was easy since the car is so small and I was able to park it in a metered spot (when do you hear that on Cap Hill?).

I’ve driven mini coopers but never a smart car. The acceleration was slow, inconsistent and generally terrible. The brake pedal requires a lot of pressure to maintain – especially while waiting at stops. I especially noticed this because I’m four weeks post-op from knee surgery – but I think anyone would. Suddenly, taking a quick trip downtown in a small car seemed a bit of a pain. That said, the car is otherwise fun and easy to drive.

Currently, Car2Go is offering 30 minutes free for new members in Seattle. The cost for my 20 minute trip would have been $8.91. But now I can stay all day – and take another car or the bus home without worrying about parking.

The service and the mobile app can be improved a lot but it met expectations overall (aside from the car’s drivability).

 

Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest. Check out Portland Wild, a visual map-driven guide to Portland's public art, its Heritage Trees and its Little Free Libraries.

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