Car2go has come to Columbus. Walking in to work this morning, I saw two of their cars parked along Gay Street — which is appropriate, because Gay Street is the coolest street in downtown Columbus and car2go is a pretty cool idea.
According to the website and its FAQs, it works like this. You fill out an application form and make one $35 payment to register after your application is accepted. You are mailed a membership card. You download the car2go app to your smartphone then use it to locate cars. When you find one, you swipe your card, answer some questions, get in, and drive. You are charged 38 cents a minute for use of the car, and you return it to a metered space within the car2go home area, which covers German Village, downtown, the University district, and Clintonville. The charges are billed to your credit card.
It’s an interesting idea that is based on a core reality of urban living — owning your own car can be a pain when you live in a city. You don’t need a car most of the time. Parking spaces can be hard to find, and figuring out where to put your car can be a hassle. With car2go, you only have a car when you really need it, and you only pay for it as long as you use it. The two car2go vehicles I saw today were the small, two-seater models that seem well-suited to their limited purpose.
Will Columbus car2go work? Beats me. But if you want to offer an urban living lifestyle, as Columbus does, it seems like a pretty good idea that would fill a void.