A new car-sharing concept, called Car2Go, debuted in Washington DC on March 24. There are 200 of the iconic smartfortwo cars available on the streets of DC for members to use. A big difference between Zipcar and Car2Go is that one may use a Car2Go for a one-way trip. Cars may be parked almost anywhere in DC as long as it's a legal public parking space without restrictions. That includes metered spaces, where one may park a Car2Go without charge. Nice. (For a map of the Car2Go zone, click here.) All the cars are the same: blue and white smartfortwos as shown here.
I joined using the promo code "capital", which got me a free membership (I don't know how long the promotion continues, so act fast). There are no recurring charges or monthly or annual fees, so it costs me nothing until I actually use a car. I don't have a clear idea in mind of when I'll be using one, but since there's no downside, why not?
Here's how it works:
Once you've joined, Car2Go will issue a membership packet with a Member Card that is read just like a Zipcar card or SmarTrip card. You can either reserve a car in advance or just take one that's available Each Car2Go has a reader on the windshield. If a car is available it will show a green light. You must confirm its availability via text (or by phone), then just get in and go. Current rates are $0.38 per minute; $13.99 per hour or $72.99 per day (up to 150 miles). Like Zipcar, rental fees include all gas, insurance, maintenance, cleaning, etc. Seems easy enough.
You can also check online to see where all the cars are by clicking here.
Hopefully Arlington will partner with DC, as they've done with bike sharing, to bring Car2Go across the river.
Steve Offutt, Arlington: Zipcar member, Capital Bikeshare member and now Car2Go member