So a couple of weeks ago I signed up for the Car2Go Car Sharing Service. Like it’s earlier predecessor ZipCar, Car2Go has a fleet of vehicles that you share with others on the service. Unlike ZipCar, you can park a Car2Go vehicle anywhere in it’s “home area”, which in my case is an approved area in Chicago. The Car2Go fleet here in Chicago has three choices: a little Smart Car, or two different models of Mercedes-Benz. The rates are reasonable and charged by the minute.
I’ve noticed Car2Go vehicles in the neighborhood for months, so I knew there were plenty of cars nearby at any given time. I signed up for the service by providing a picture of my license, front and back, and providing credit card information. It took a few weeks to get my license approved.
Using the service is simple. You find a car nearby, reserve it up to 30 minutes in advance of using it, and then find the car when you’re ready to go. Once you’re at the car, make sure there’s no damage to report, and then enter your PIN in the app. Another PIN will display on an electronic doohickey on the dash, enter that and the car will unlock. Once in the car you can grab the keys from a special holder and off you go.
The first car I drove this evening reeked of pot smoke, so whoever drove it before me must have been well baked during their use of the car. Comforting, but not surprising these days. I rolled down the window and aired out the car as I drove to my destination.
Once I arrived I simply found a legal parking spot for the car, turned it off, stowed the keys in the designated area and got out. I then ended my trip on the app. The car locked itself, gave me a beep-beep confirmation and I was done.
The only thing that was weird to me was that I intentionally locked the keys in the car.
I did the same thing for the trip home, though I didn’t use the same car as someone had already taken that. The second car didn’t smell like pot smoke but one of the tires had low tire pressure, which I reported on the app.
I really like the idea of using technology in this fashion and using Car2Go was actually cheaper than hiring a Lyft or Uber for this particular trip.
I like the idea of using Car2Go and the idea of sharing cars in this fashion. It doesn’t make sense for us to have two vehicles just sitting in the garage when we don’t need them (hence the sale of the Jeep earlier this week). But it does make sense to have cars readily available to share with others who have embraced this type of technology.
Recently someone hacked the Car2Go app and stole a bunch of Mercedes here in Chicago. I haven’t followed the news close enough to find out if the vehicles were recovered, but despite that setback, I think Car2Go is an excellent service and I look forward to continue to use it.
It was simple to use, and that’s what’s important about today’s technology. Now, if we could just do something about the pot smoke.