Car2Go is going to be in Grandview

Published June 2, 2014 by justicewg

CC Elvert Barnes on Flickr

It looks like the Car2Go service will be allowed to expand into Grandview heights. There are questions about the service that have not been fully answered, a 60-day trail period is built into the agreement that could cancel or modify the contract. The council will need your feedback on how Car2Go is working on your street. Special attention should be given by the residents who live in the permit parking area to the east of Grandview Ave., there may be a return of the parking problems which resulted in the permit system.

Rental cars without the rental building

There is nothing really new about the Car2Go rental service, other than adding a lot of networking and computer control to the rental car business. The label “car sharing” is how the company refers to itself, but I don’t think a user of the service is any more an “owner” of the car than vacation time share owners are “owners” of their condos.

You use the website to find a car parked on a street near where you are located, optionally reserve it, walk up to the car, then use a membership card to unlock and drive the car. At that point it’s just like a standard rental car, although the charge by the minute (with a daily max of $73) is a little more finely graduated than the normal hourly rates.

The unique part of the service happens when your trip is over. You find a legal parking spot (the GPS unit inside the car checks if you are legal) then you use your card to end the trip. No driving to the rental agency.

In a higher income area like Grandview, rental cars are not going to be primary cars, most people have one car or two cars for dual income families. The idea is that Car2Go cars will be replacing old family cars that normally sit unused for much of the time, and that people will realize it is almost as good to have a nearby rental car as owning that extra car. The fixed costs of a old car – insurance, licensing, maintenance, etc. – can make a rental car a better deal (although most people have already paid off the old car, so there are no monthly car payments.)

Will Grandview Heights residents want to dump the old car and go with Car2Go? That’s the big question. If we keep the old cars, then add a fleet of Car2Go cars to the streets, the normally tight parking in Grandview will get worse.

Council is ready to vote

I asked councilman and safety committee chair Chris Smith some questions about the Car2Go service, he gave this reply.

C2G plans on expanding its service to Grandview Heights and the Fifth by Northwest area of Columbus. You are correct that the vehicles do have GPS devices, which should eliminate most potential parking issues.  Additionally, a majority of council is of the belief that the “short-term use” operating model of C2G will make parking issues very minimal, if at all, and may actually reduce parking issues.  It is worth noting that German Village in Columbus is the largest area of that city that has permit parking in that city where C2G has operations, and there has been no issues reported there.  C2G has had such high demand for its services in Grandview Heights that it expects C2G vehicles to remain idle in the City for very short periods. – CS

No doubt that the cars will spend most of the day in use, I don’t see the Car2Go owners have any reason to flood the area with more cars than are needed. The real problems could be the permit area east of Grandview Ave, and the overnight parking.

Car2Go don’t need no stinkin permits

After the Grandview Ave strip became a fashionable place for restaurants and movies, and the parking behind the Bank Block Building became constantly full, the residents living to the east of Grandview Ave. found parking in the evenings to be constantly taken by those business patrons. After a lot of complaints the city created a “parking by permit only area” that extended a couple of blocks to the east. Not sure but I think this happened in the 90’s?

The Car2Go owners insist that they must be allowed to have nearly full parking privileges for the concept to work. That means they can park in metered spots without paying (although I guess the company pays something to the cities for that privilege). They also get to park in all “residents only” permit areas, which will mean the Car2Go cars will be parking east of Grandview Ave.

Will the Car2Go cars bring back the overuse of the parking areas east of Grandview Ave.? I asked Chris.

Yes, that was a big concern of mine as well, which I raised during the hearing. No one else in attendance had a problem with C2G having parking access in those spaces. Based on its operating model, I was given assurances that this would be no problem due to these vehicles moving out so quickly. Again, the German Village scenario was mentioned for the case that it would not be a problem. Be assured that council will be monitoring this aspect of this agreement, most notably myself. If it does create problems, we will take appropriate action. – Chris Smith

The parking spot in front of your house

On my street most people park directly in front of their own houses. We try to be nice to each other and don’t park in front of a neighbor’s house if ours is taken by a stranger. There are some spots we know are normally empty because that house has all the cars in the back garage, or they don’t need both parking spots. It doesn’t work all the time, but mostly we can expect to park right in front.

The Car2Go service will ignore this neighborhood agreement. If a Car2Go car ends the day parked in front of your house, that is where it will spend the night.

The Car2Go people say that the cars will circulate a lot and this will not happen often. They also hope that the service will cause people to get rid of their old cars, leading to more spots opening up. Maybe this will happen. The drivers of the Car2Go cars can do much to help on these issues.

If you are using a Car2Go car, and you want to go to a restaurant on Grandview Ave. that has valet parking, use that service instead of parking in front of a house east of Grandview.

Don’t end the Car2Go trip by parking in front of a house. Very often in Grandview there are cross streets at the ends of blocks that have no houses facing that street. Park your Car2Go car on these side streets. I wish that the GPS units in the cars could be programed with this level of detail, but according to Smith they don’t want to do that.

After the Car2Go legislation passes council and the cars are on the street, keep in contact with the city about any problems you see. This is the time to refine the agreement with the Car2Go company, not after the 60 day trial period.

C2G street

The car on my street

This Car2Go was dropped off by the company (two cars arrived, then an employee dropped the car). This happened sometime Friday August 22, I didn’t see it but a neighbor said she saw the drop in the morning. This is a parking spot that is normally used by the neighbor that lives at the end of the street, so as long as this car stays put, it is disrupting the normal parking on our street.

Let’s see how long the Car2Go car is parked without moving on my street.

(Saturday 2:30PM) Still there.

(Sunday 1:30PM) not moved.

(Monday afternoon) The car is gone. Spending an entire weekend unused is not a good indicator of the need for these cars, the claim by the Car2Go people that the cars sit unused for a few hours on average was not supported on my street.

Anyone else have an experience with the Car2Go sitting unused for long periods?

Second Car2Go car on my street

C2G out of order

 This car showed up a couple of days ago. I don’t think it has moved since then. This afternoon I saw someone inside it, and heard a car alarm going off. The person then got out without moving it. I checked the display panel on the car, it says “out of service”. When I went to the website for Car2Go, it showed this car as being a good distance away from the place where it was supposed to be, and also it is listed as ready to be rented. This will be a big surprise to the person who walks blocks to use this car and only finds out it is unusable after they get to the car.

(Aug. 28, noon) Still sitting, out of service.

Aug. 29) The car was gone this morning. Not good sign that it takes four or so days to service a car.


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