Today I was scheduled to have lunch with the Rising Star. When I stopped by her office, she looked at me with a mischievous grin and asked whether I was up for an adventure. When I said yes — after, admittedly, a moment’s hesitation — she said we’d be taking a Car2Go to the Indian Oven.
Car2Go is the minute-by-minute rental car fleet that you can use in downtown Columbus. The Rising Star and her husband are members, and also participate in the CoGo bike rental program. They frequently use Car2Go, CoGo, their feet, or some combination of the same to get to their evening destination and back again. Today the Rising Star handled the Car2Go process — which includes swiping your membership card, confirming your identity, answering a few questions, getting the key, and then proceeding on your journey — like an experienced pro. I was impressed.
A few observations about Car2Go vehicles: (1) The smart cars are more spacious than I expected. It’s a two-seater, but there’s plenty of leg room, and I didn’t feel cramped at all. (2) The vehicles don’t seem to have a lot of power, and you wouldn’t want to be taking them out onto the Bonneville Salt Flats for a little rat-racing, but there’s enough oomph to get you around downtown in good order. (3) It’s weird to get into a car, turn it on, and hear a stranger’s radio station preference. The person who used our Car2Go vehicle most recently had tuned the radio to WNCI, which is the modern pop station in Columbus and one which I haven’t listened to since, say, 1973. I was tempted to tune it to some appalling seniors station right before we left the car, but I resisted. (4) The smart cars can turn on a dime and can fit into the smallest imaginable parking spaces, which is pretty handy when it comes to downtown driving. The Rising Star easily found parking spaces and was able to zip in and out on our short trip across downtown. (5) There was a parking ticket in the “glove compartment” area of the dashboard. The Rising Star explained that Car2Go users can park the cars in any standard parking spaces in the designated footprint area of Columbus, but can’t park in a 30-minute spot. Sure enough, when we checked the ticket, it was for that violation. The ticket will be routed to the offending user.
It was a pleasant ride to IO, and as always the food there was fantastic. Fortunately for us — and for the people of downtown Columbus — our Car2Go car was still where we parked it when we left the restaurant, and as a result Columbusites fortunately were spared the unseemly sight of a sweaty, out-of-shape 50-something guy huffing and puffing on a bicycle ride back to our starting point. But the Rising Star, as always, was right — it was an adventure, and a fun one at that. One of these days I’m going to try a CoGo, I think.