It’s pretty impossible to be in downtown Miami and not notice the many little blue and white Car2Go smart cars driving around. Car2Go is a car-sharing program similar to Zip Car, but in my opinion way tighter!
A co-worker lives about 14 blocks from our work and usually walks, but anytime it’s raining or too hot or she has somewhere else to go she’ll usually grab a Car2Go. It seemed really convenient for her but I hadn’t given it much thought living very centrally located in Brickell. When I made the move to the beach and became much more cognizant of parking downtown Car2Go seemed like a pretty nice option! I could leave my car in the parking lot at work and take a Car2Go to wherever I wanted to go and not have to worry about parking really.
Here’s how Car2Go works. You find one of the cars using their app, online, or by stumbling upon it. If you find one online or on the app you can reserve it ahead of time for up to 30 minutes. You have your Car2Go card (after paying a $35 sign-up fee and having your driver record checked) and swipe it on the reader in the front window. After confirming your account the car unlocks and you get in (you should do a quick check for any damage and cleanliness on the outside while you’re waiting). You enter your PIN code into the car computer and the key unlocks from the dash. On the computer you click if there is any damage and rate the cleanliness of the outside and inside. You the get the car started and drive wherever you’d like.
When you’re driving it costs $0.38 cents a minute plus tax to drive a Car2Go (compared to something like ZipCar that charges by the hour or day). The car computer has navigation, radio, and a few apps related to the efficiency of the vehicle. Once you get to where you want you can park anywhere that is a public metered spot over 30 minutes (but you don’t have to pay!), free/open parking, and even restricted neighborhood parking (at least in Miami- parking rules vary by city). When you’ve parked in an allowable place you make sure the windows are up and lights are off then you put the key back in the dash, closeout on the computer, and wait for it to confirm. When you leave you swipe your card on the reader outside again for your trip to be completed. Then you’re done! You don’t have to pay for parking (in an allowable spot) and you don’t have to return the car to where you got it (a downside of ZipCar)! You can drive for how long or as short as you want and you pay $0.38 cents a minute plus tax (up to $13.99 an hour or $72.99 a day plus tax) and leave it wherever is allowed!
If you want to make a stop and save your Car2Go then when you stop you click “Stopover” instead of “End Trip” and the car remains yours, although you pay for those minutes. But it’s more convenient than risking someone taking the car if you’re running in quick to get coffee or pick up your dry cleaning.
Last Friday my friend and were in Midtown and were planning to meet our friends in Brickell. Instead of having to worry about parking in Brickell and worse case having to get my car there the next morning (if I couldn’t drive home) we hopped in a Car2Go, drove to Brickell, parked, and were done! No worries about paying for parking or paying for time we won’t using the car!
Now two of the only downsides of Car2Go is that the cars are only a two-seater (ZipCar’s advantages are having larger cars and trucks) and that the “home area” currently is only the cities of Miami and North Bay Village. You can drive into Coral Gables or Miami Beach but you’re charged for all the minutes you’re outside the home area. It would be amazing if Car2Go expands to Miami Beach (although there are two garages in South Beach that Car2Go worked out to be part of the “home area”). If it expanded to where you can park in public spots or lots in Miami Beach that’d be awesome! If I was going out and not in a big group to take a cab (and not drinking beforehand) I could take the Car2Go there and save a lot of money relative to a cab. Then I’d only need to take a cab back. Expand to Miami Beach Car2Go!
Car2Go is a very convenient option when you don’t have a car or don’t want to drive your own car and worry about parking. It’s cheap, you can park in tons of different places (without paying), and you only pay for the time you use. Plus there are a lot of them, especially in certain neighborhoods (sometimes in Midtown or the Design District or Upper Eastside there are lines of them!).
Car2Go also is in Portland (so I can use it when I’m home!), Seattle, San Diego, Austin, and D.C. Your Car2Go works in any cities in your home country. In addition they are in Canada, the U.K., Germany, Amsterdam, and Vienna, however your American Car2Go card won’t work there! Check out their website to learn more about the program and see all locations! Plus be on the lookout if Car2Go expands to your city. When it started in Miami in Summer 2012 they were waiving the sign-up fee for people to start!
Car2Go- Miami, Portland, Seattle, San Diego, Austin, and D.C. (plus international locations)