Monday, May 28, 2012

My review of Car2Go, a wonderful car sharing service that has one HUGE downside

I have given Car2Go a try recently and have to say I am pretty impressed with the service.  For those of you who have not already heard of it, Car2Go is the latest car sharing service to hit Portland.

The way this service works is very simple.  When you need a car just check the website and reserve a nearby car.  Then you go to the car, use the membership card they send you, and your off.  You can use the car as long as you want and drive pretty much anywhere.  They charge you $.35 per minute that you use the car.  For short trips this makes it very comparable to taking the bus.

If you want to learn more of the details just click the link below the picture.

The first thing that people notice about Car2go is that they use only small Smart cars.  I have always been curious about these cars and one of the top reasons i signed up for the service was so I could drive one around.  Although it felt a bit like driving a big golf cart, I still thought it was a lot of fun.  They feel safe and have more than enough power to drive on the highway just fine.

The cost is very affordable at 35 cents per minute   This means that a 15 min. trip will cost you $5.25.  That is more than double what a bus trip would cost but you save a lot of time.  Also if you are traveling with a friend the trip becomes very competitive with taking Trimet.

Now there are a few downsides I should warn you about.  First there is no guarantee that a car will be near you.  Several times I have been on the PSU campus and thought about using Car2Go only to find that there were none anywhere close to where I was.  Usually if you keep checking one will pop up, but you can't count on that happening.

The bigger downside for me though is the fact that I still have to drive.  I personally hate driving.  I find it stressful and a total waste of my time.  The reason I take mass transit isn't due to cost but the fact that it allows me time to read, catch up on email, focus on a podcast or lecture, write notes to myself, ect.  Mass transit gives me time to work on things I might not otherwise get to.  If I use Car2Go for a trip, I am stuck driving again and start missing out on all the things I could do if I had just taken Trimet.

The fact that I still have to actually drive is a serious issue and will mean that I won't be using Car2Go all that much in the future.  Although I somewhat save travel time using Car2Go compared to taking Trimet, the loss of productive time is a huge hidden cost.  I highly value being able to do many other activities that I just can't do if I am driving.  This actually makes Car2Go not such a great value for me.

Overall I was happy with Car2Go and will probably keep using it in the future if me and a friend want to quickly get around town.  If I am by myself and not in much of a hurry though, I will be sticking with Trimet.