The first thing you should know is that I have a car in my home base of Brooklyn, but I’ve always been intrigued by alternate means of transportation. I opened a ZipCar account a couple of years ago so I’d have a second car on hand in case I needed it and I sometimes did. But I was always frustrated by ZipCar because you have to return it to the spot you rented it from. I found that cumbersome and thought, “Someday, someone will figure out a way so you can rent a car and drop it off someplace else.” (Yes, I know rent a car companies do this all the time but I’m talking short term rentals.)
Enter Car2Go which has a fleet of snappy little Smart Cars zipping around Brooklyn. They are everywhere or at least they’re everywhere I go in Brooklyn. Again, I opened an account because there are times in the this crazy city when you have a “good” spot (meaning you don’t have to move it for days) and you still need to run an errand somewhere. So I opened a Car2Go account which is $35 for life! Cars rent for 41 cents a minute or $15 an hour. I began taking small trips here and there when I had a “good” spot and it was cool but I didn’t use it all that much. But then I went to a west coast city on business.
I spotted Car2Go cars all over the place so I left my rental in the hotel garage and started tooling around in a Car2Go whenever I needed to make a short hop. It was way easier than looking for and paying for parking. In this city, Car2Go had worked out a deal with the city so parking was free! And the cost of an average trip was cheaper than any cab. AND I could drive myself. I’m one of those people who hate to be a passenger — ever. I feel I’m the best driver around and love driving, especially in cities where I consider myself something of an expert.
In four days, I never took my car out of the hotel garage and never rode in a cab. I just looked at the Car2Go app, found a vehicle nearby, reserved it for 30 minutes ahead and walked over and took it. When I was finished, I left it at my destination and never thought about it again. Making a reservation 30 minutes ahead (which you can cancel anytime during that window) is a thing of beauty. I would check if a car was nearby while I was getting dressed, spot one and reserve it, knowing I’d have a ride. If there were no cars around the general vicinity, I’d wait a few minutes and one would pop up.
Finally, do I have to point out that Smart Cars are tiny and fit into almost any spot? I often get frustrated with my own car because there are so many half-spots but with Car2Go, I’m looking for those half-spots and, when I park in spots my own car could only dream about, I just smile. I’m just hoping Car2Go expands throughout New York. Someday, I may actually ditch my car. This is the perfect car-sharing idea put into practice and it works beautifully. If you live in Brooklyn, you’d be a fool not to try, especially with the subways more crowded than I’ve even seen them.
It’s also kind of fun to drive a Smart Car around the city streets but I’m not eager to try the BQE — I have a feeling I’d get blown off the Gowanus by the first tractor trailer that passed by.