Despite some borderline-ridiculous bumps in the road along the way, the Seattle City Council is expected Monday to approve a pilot program that will bring a new type of car sharing program to the central Seattle core — including Capitol Hill.
Car2Go’s “floating” car-share model will bring a fleet of 350
electric Daimler Smart ForTwo cars to Seattle in a pilot program to evaluate the impact of a service that will be allowed to utilize any public parking space to house its vehicles. The new service is expected to begin operating in 2013.
Early discussion of the bill that will pave the way for the company to enter the Seattle market was nearly derailed by a Council sporting some rather outdated concerns:
Opponents on the council, however, objected that the new service would allow cars to take up parking spaces that could otherwise be occupied by cars owned by homeowners who live nearby, or patrons of neighborhood businesses. They also questioned whether shared cars might threaten taxi drivers’ business.
A more valid objection that continues to surface is the company’s service of the city’s core while more diverse areas to the south and the whole of West Seattle could be left out of the project for the time being. Car2Go had drawn its proposed southern boundary at I-90 but is now extending the service to the Mount Baker and Beacon Hill light-rail stations, the Seattle Times reports.
The service is likely to be a popular alternative on Capitol Hill where Zipcar stations continue to proliferate. Unlike Zipcar, Car2Go drivers will be able to use the cars for one-way trips allowing customers to mix and match transportation options. Cars can also be billed more granularly than Zipcar’s 30-minute increments and, maybe most importantly, can be stowed away safely in any public parking spot — including in the city’s RPZ areas. Pricing includes a $35 annual fee and hourly rates. San Diego recently saw its Car2Go rates bump a $1 higher to $13.99 per hour with a $72.99 cap. Unlike Zipcar, Car2Go’s fleet is uniform — perhaps part of the driver behind an increase in the diversity of Zipcar’s vehicle types to include cargo vans and pick-up trucks. UPDATE: We’re told that Zipcar also might be considering adding services similar to Car2Go.
Below is a Car2Go business presentation from a City Council transportation committee meeting this fall.