My First Car2Go Experience: Wow!

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screenshot from car2go's Web siteI was in Washington D.C. last week for a quick discussion on early childhood education opportunities and to visit one of my daughters and granddaughter.

The cherry blossoms weren't fully out yet, but I did get to use my Car2Go membership for the first time. I used the service three separate times on Friday and Saturday for a total cost of $28.42, far less than a rental car or a taxi.

Each time I needed a car I opened the Car2Go app on my iPhone, located the closest available vehicle and reserved it. A handy walking map guided me to the car—they’re all Smart Cars—where I placed my membership card against the front windshield sensor. Presto! I was verified as the member who reserved the car and the doors unlocked. Once inside, I entered my PIN using the navigation touch screen and withdrew the ignition key from its dashboard holder. Done. I pulled away from the curb and was on my way.

What I really liked about Car2Go was my drive and drop option. No need to return the car to my pick-up spot. It’s a perfect service for one-way drivers who need to get from point A to point B or even for a bunch of errands on a weekend.

Late Saturday night, when I used Car2Go to return to my hotel I encountered a frustrating moment which I chalked up to my status as a novice user. My little Smart Car wouldn’t let me end my trip. A warning flashed on the navigation screen informing me that I had parked outside of the Car2Go service area which I hadn’t. I moved one block but got the same message so I pushed the help button and spoke to a Car2Go customer service representative. She asked my specific location and then informed me that I was parked on a peak hour street and would have to move around the corner. Only then did I notice an obscure sign on a nearby light pole that prohibited Sunday morning parking. My little car was really smart.

NPR ran a story about Car2Go and other car sharing services yesterday. It’s worth a listen.