In A Car2Go

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.

IMG_2480A 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.

A Great Day For CoGo

IMG_2412It was a beautiful sunny day in Columbus today, with temperatures in the low 80s.  It was perfect biking weather.  I know that because when I left the office this afternoon I noticed that every one of the CoGo ride-sharing bikes at the transfer station at the corner of Gray and Third Street in downtown Columbus had been taken from its slot and was out being used.  It’s the first time I’ve ever seen that CoGo transfer station totally empty of bicycles.

A Great Day For CoGo

IMG_2412It was a beautiful sunny day in Columbus today, with temperatures in the low 80s.  It was perfect biking weather.  I know that because when I left the office this afternoon I noticed that every one of the CoGo ride-sharing bikes at the transfer station at the corner of Gray and Third Street in downtown Columbus had been taken from its slot and was out being used.  It’s the first time I’ve ever seen that CoGo transfer station totally empty of bicycles.

CoGo Comes To Gay Street

This summer Columbus is rolling out a new bike-sharing program called CoGo.  Yesterday I saw that one of the 30 new, solar-powered stations — which are supposed to feature 300 bicycles — has been placed on our block of Gay Street, next to the intersection of Gay and Third Street.  No bikes are there . . . yet.

IMG_1329Many of the CoGo stations are found along High Street, running as far north as Fourth Avenue.  The stations also are found at downtown landmarks like the Museum of Art, the Main Library, Goodale Park, the Arena District, and the Columbus Commons; other stations are found at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Schiller Park in German Village, and the Brewery District.  According to the directions at the Gay Street location, you use a credit card to pay $6 for a 24 hour pass that covers all trips of less than 30 minutes duration.  You receive a five-digit security code that, when entered, releases a bike.  When you return your bike and then come back for another one during the 24-hour period, you swipe your card again and can pick up a new bike.  You also can download an app that allows you to identify where the CoGo bikes can be found at any point in time.

The history of bike-share programs in other cities has been a bit rocky, due to problems with theft, vandalism, and lack of interest.  It remains to be seen how the Columbus program fares, but it makes good sense that the program is starting small and in a centralized area.  It makes downtown seem like more of a neighborhood and ties in nicely with the growth in the downtown housing market.  I’m also glad that Gay Street is home to a station — it helps to further secure Gay Street’s rep as the coolest street in the downtown area.

Who knows?  Maybe on some casual Friday JV, the Unkempt Guy, the Bus-Riding Conservative and I might rent CoGo bikes and tool around town, looking for a new lunch spot.