Minneapolis has yet another option for its citizens to get around the city.
Car2Go, a car sharing service based in Austin, Texas, now has 300 hybrid vehicles in the city. But it’s not looking to replace other public transportation. Tabitha Stork, Car2Go’s Communications Administrator, said Car2Go wants to bring another option to the table.
“We’re providing a fleet of cars for collaborative consumption within the city, as opposed to everyone having their own cars,” Stork said. “It just provides another layer of transportation to the blend the city that exists currently.”
That fleet includes buses, taxis, light-rail trains and Hourcar. Hourcar is a car sharing service that has been in Minnesota since 2005, but Stork said she is not concerned with competition because Car2Go offers different features.
“What’s actually, I think, the most unique aspect of Car2Go, is the point-to-point car sharing aspect,” she said. “You don’t have designated spots that you need to return the car to. You simply park on public legal street parking over two-hour limits.”
The process is relatively simple. Step one is signing up for membership online. This consists of filling out a personal information form and paying a registration fee of $35. After that, Car2Go runs a check on your driving record. Then, three to five business days later, they mail you a membership card.
“Once you have your membership card, you can use the Car2Go app on your smartphone, you can use our website or you can call our car center to locate the nearest Car2Go,” Stork said. “You can make a reservation, or you can just swipe your card to use it.”
While Car2Go is putting 300 more cars on the road, Stork said that any negative impact on the environment is not significant.
“Some of our members actually give up cars, give up second car ownership, or reconsider their own car ownership,” she said.
Stork was unable to provide any statistics on Car2Go users that give up vehicle ownership, but the Environmental Protection Agency recognized the potential impact of replacing older cars with fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles. In 2010, the EPA chose Car2Go for its “Clean Air Excellence Award.”
Car2Go currently offers 50 cars for members in Minneapolis. It officially launched Oct. 5.
Mitch Skinner is studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.