CAR2GO Car Sharing Picking Up Speed In Columbus
Youâve probably been seeing a lot of blue-and-white Smart cars around town. Theyâre the super-sub-compact two-seaters bearing the logo CAR2GO. They belong to one of North Americaâs largest car-sharing companies. Theyâve been in Columbus for about three months and usage is on the increase. Martin Tusler and his wife live in German Village and both work at Ohio State. They usually commute together, but recently, Tusler decided to spend the morning at home. He chose to rent from CAR2GO to get to campus. âThis morning I expected to find one closer to my house; I live in German Village. And unfortunately I looked on the app that goes with it. I looked on my phone and there wasnât one very close. So I walked over toward Schiller Park and I happened to see one over there so I grabbed it,â? Tusler says. CAR2GO has a total of 250 Smart cars in Columbus. Theyâre dispersed at strategic points around the city where theyâre likely to get the most use. Ohio State has 45 reserved parking spaces for CAR2GO vehicles. Thatâs according to Nicholas Hill, who manages the companyâs Columbus operations. âThose are on-campus spots, right next to the Oval and Mirror Lake, up by St. John Arena, by the Ohio Stadium; 45 spots within 10 different parking locations on campus,â? Hill says. Joining CAR2GO requires a $35 one-time fee. After approval, you get a credit-card-sized card from the company that gives you access to any vehicle thatâs available.
âYou get a card; you tap that on the windshield at a 3-by-5 box thatâll unlock the door. When you get in the car it will ask for a pin code so that we know that itâs you. You pull the key out, put that into the ignition and drive to where you need to go. "Once youâre there you turn the car off, put the key back where you got it, close all the doors, roll up the windows and tap your key on the front and the rental is over,â? Hill says. How much does it cost? Itâs 38 cents a minute, Hill says. You only pay for the time that youâre actually using the vehicle. Take Martin Tuslerâs trip from just south of downtown to Ohio State. âYouâve only paid for that drive time, from this instance from German Village to the university, maybe 10 to 15 minutes at 38 cents a minute, so youâre looking at somewhere around $4 and thatâs a pretty good alternative to some other transportation,â? Hill says. Thatâs how the company hopes to grow its customer base; by emphasizing the economy of its product. Thereâs no monthly car payment, no insurance, no parking fees. Hill says he knows of customers whoâve gone from two cars to one and rely on CAR2GO on occasion. According to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, 10 percent of Columbus households donât even own a car. So there could be use from that demographic as well. CAR2GO operates in 13 North American cities. Hill says Columbus was chosen for a variety of reasons.
âIt has the 15th largest population in the country. Ohio State has 80,000 faculty, staff and students â 55,000 of those students on the main campus. A deceptively large young professional population, coupled with the university and a lot of business as well,â? Hill says. Studies of car sharing in the U.S. suggest the concept provides a number of transportation, land-use, environmental and social benefits. The Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California â Berkeley says that car sharing is already a factor in whether or not a car should be purchased. Martin Tusler, the Ohio State employee from German Village says heâs pleased with his CAR2GO experience. âI think the concept is great. I think itâs interesting that the university has decided to provide this space in a really prime location. Particularly if students are using them, you know, for quick trips and things like that, that means that the university doesnât have to provide as much parking for them so there really are a lot of advantages both for the university. At least for me, personally, itâs an advantage,â? Tusler says.