(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Car rental company car2go is reducing its Arlington service area.
The northernmost six square miles of the county will not longer be serviced by the company as of May 1, according to an email the company sent to customers.
Car2go users will still be able to drive in that area, but won’t be able to begin or end a trip in the uncovered zone. According to Kendell Kelton, car2go’s North America communications manager, the removed area begins just north of Lee Highway and Interstate 66.
The section of the county that is losing service, the company wrote, is “a mostly suburban area with high car ownership rates and low free-float carshare usage.”
Car2go notified customers Thursday morning, saying that the change was, in part, “due to member and resident feedback,” but also from the company’s data analytics. Car2go representatives declined to comment on the exact figures.
“It should be noted that car2go continually analyzes usage data and member feedback and makes adjustments to our Home Area boundaries on that basis,” said Kendell Kelton, a car2go spokesperson. “If we ever see that this information indicates that expansion back into this area is warranted, we would certainly consider doing so.”
Staff at car2go wrote in the email to consumers that the company believes the service change “will allow [them] to improve car2go availability for the majority of county residents who rely on our service the most.”
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SafeTrack, combined with the recently-added ability to travel between Arlington and D.C., has resulted in a “a 540 percent increase in the average number of trips beginning or ending in Arlington, a 22 percent jump in overall Car2Go trips in the region, and a 63 percent increase in average weekly memberships,” according to Car2Go.
“Car2Go membership in Arlington and D.C. has passed the 57,000 member mark, making it one of the largest in North America,” the company added.
That’s a reversal from earlier this year, when Car2Go said it was struggling to gain traction in Arlington.
Car2Go is rolling out upgraded versions of its cars in the area through the end of the year. The new cars are still the same Smart Fortwo model, but with faster unlocking, Bluetooth access for wireless calls and music, seat warmers, roomier interiors, a bigger trunk, improved safety features and a faster motor.
Arlington is no longer an island unto itself for Car2Go members.
The car-sharing service announced yesterday that it had received the go-ahead from the District Dept. of Transportation to allow one-way trips between Arlington and D.C. Starting Thursday, May 26, Car2Go members will be able to drive from Arlington and park in D.C., and vice versa.
The Arlington County Board approved cross-jurisdictional trips at its meeting last month. A county staff report noted that Car2Go was struggling to gain traction as an Arlington-only service, and had reduced the number of cars in the county from 95 to 25.
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) May 11, 2016
Starting May 26, you'll be able to end trips in DC or Arlington no matter which one you start in! pic.twitter.com/ETMUrSEVTh
— car2go D.C. (@car2goDC) May 11, 2016
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Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Car2Go launched in Arlington this past fall as a pilot program, but it only allows trips that start and end in Arlington. The Board is considering taking a first step to allowing cross-jurisdictional service between D.C. and Arlington.
After launching Oct. 22, Car2Go got off to slow start with customers, according to a county staff report. In response, Car2Go reduced its Arlington fleet from 95 cars to only 25 in January.
So far, 2,000 Arlington residents have joined as members, taking 6,600 trips, but the fleet reduction has resulted in “less availability overall and reduced usefulness to members,” said county staff.
The company has also had to contend with complaints about their cars being parked in one place for too long. In residential permit parking areas, the maximum idle time is 24 hours; it’s 36 hours everywhere else.
“Membership and vehicle use in the first couple months of the program was lower than anticipated and several complaints were received from residents reporting car2go vehicles that were idle/parked for longer-than-permitted durations,” said the staff report. “All of these relocation requests were resolved by car2go staff.”
With only 25 vehicles — up to 200 were authorized by the county — “the pilot does not indicate that an Arlington-only system is viable,” say county staff.
By allowing Car2Go to operate across state lines, it can “provide a more useful service to members in Arlington and D.C.,” “operate a fleet size sufficient for proper evaluation
of operational viability in Arlington” and “reduce vehicle idle times and rebalancing costs that have been a barrier thus far.”
Even though county staff says their D.C. counterparts support cross-jurisdictional service, approval by the County Board this weekend would not result in an immediate service change, Car2Go said.
“Approval from the Arlington County Board would be a very positive step toward cross-jurisdictional access, and we’re also working to gain support from DDOT,” said spokesman Brad Ducey. “As soon as we are able to get support from both jurisdictions, we would be able to implement quickly.”
“It has always been our goal to create a seamless regional carsharing solution, similar to what members of Capital Bikeshare experience,” Ducey added. “We know car2go members are eager for access between Washington D.C. and Arlington, and we’re continuing to work hard to make that a reality. We’ll be sure to keep our members informed since we know car2go is an important part of how they get around, and cross-jurisdictional access would make it even more convenient.”
The per-trip car rental service will launch on Thursday, Oct. 22, according to company spokesman Brad Ducey. It had previously been scheduled to launch last month, but that was delayed because of production delays with a new model of Car2Go vehicles.
Arlington was originally supposed to get 200 of Car2Go’s newest vehicles, but the service will instead launch here with its “classic” Smart Fortwo cars.
From a company press release:
car2go will launch in Arlington with its signature car2go smart fortwo vehicles, and plans to roll out updated technology in Arlington at a future date.
car2go offers a flexible and efficient mobility option for Arlington residents. With car2go’s unique oneway approach to carsharing, members can pick up a shared smart fortwo vehicle anywhere within the Arlington Home Area and end their trip anywhere within the Arlington Home Area, without the need to return the car to a specific station.
car2go trips cost just 41 cents a minute, plus a $1 Driver Protection Fee that limits the drivers’ liability in the event of an accident. Gas, insurance and maintenance are all included in this straightforward pricing.
The car-sharing service will now arrive in October, said Car2Go spokesman Brad Ducey.
“We’re committed to bringing one-way car sharing to Arlington as soon as possible, so in the meantime, we’ll launch in Arlington next month with classic Car2Go vehicles,” he said.
To start and end a trip with a “classic” car, users tap their membership cards to the front windshield or unlock it with a smartphone app. Upgraded cars that are managed using a smartphone app, have an upgrade navigation system and phone charging cables are expected to roll out at a later time, Ducey said.
Members can locate or reserve a car online or by using the Car2Go smartphone app.
Once Car2Go arrives in Arlington, members will be able to start and end trips in the Arlington “home area,” which does not include the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery or Reagan National Airport.
Car2Go costs $0.41 plus tax per minute of driving, with maximums of $14.99 plus tax per hour and $84.99 plus tax per day. Trips that start in Arlington must end in the county — cross-jurisdiction trips that end in D.C., which also offers Car2Go service, are not currently supported. To end a trip, users just park the car in any county-metered parking spot or on a residential street.
“Arlington has shown an increasing appetite for more flexible and convenient mobility options, such as bike sharing and the Metro’s new Silver Line, and we’ve heard consistent requests to add Car2Go to the mix,” said Car2Go D.C. General Manager Adam Johnson in a statement last month. “We’re excited to make Car2Go an important part of the evolving transit landscape in Arlington, enhancing existing transit options and offering residents greater choice and flexibility in their day-to-day lives.”
Why Car2Go Can’t Cross the Border — Car2Go car-sharing service is launching in Arlington on Sept. 19, but users won’t be able to drive from Arlington and park in D.C., or vice versa. The District, which also has Car2Go service, is worried about traffic congestion and a loss of parking spaces to Arlington Car2Go users. Arlington officials have also expressed concern about allowing D.C. users park on Arlington streets, but appear more receptive to opening the Car2Go border. [Washington Post]
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Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
(Updated at 9:50 a.m.) Car-sharing company Car2Go is coming to Arlington this September with a fleet of 200 cars.
Starting Saturday, Sept. 19, people will be able to rent Car2Go vehicles for trips that start and end Arlington, Car2Go’s latest “home area.” The Arlington area does not include Reagan National Airport, the Pentagon or Arlington National Cemetery.
“Arlington has been at the forefront of expanding and improving transportation options, and our new year-long demonstration study with Car2Go is another opportunity to show residents, workers and visitors how easy it is to travel without owning a car,” Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach said in a statement.
To celebrate the car-sharing service’s arrival in Arlington, Car2Go is offering membership registration for $10 and 30 minutes of free driving time if new customers use the code DRIVE703.
“With access to a network of 200 Smart Fortwo vehicles, Arlington residents, workers and visitors will be able to experience a true complement to existing transportation options as they move throughout the city,” the company said in a statement.
Car2Go costs $0.41 plus tax per minute, with $14.99 plus tax per hour and $84.99 plus tax per day maximums. A $1 “driver protection fee” is also added for each trip. Gas, parking and insurance are free in the “home area.”
To find a Car2Go, Arlington users can use the Car2Go website, app or call the company’s customer service line. Users tap their membership cards to a card reader on the front windshield to start and end a trip.
Once the Arlington users are done, they can park the car at any county metered space or on any residential street in Arlington. While users can drive outside of the county, cars borrowed in Arlington must be returned in Arlington. When parking, users must follow Arlington parking rules.
There are currently 1,200 Arlington Car2Go members, according to the company.
“Arlington has shown an increasing appetite for more flexible and convenient mobility options, such as bikesharing and the Metro’s new Silver Line, and we’ve heard consistent requests to add Car2Go to the mix,” said Car2Go D.C. General Manager Adam Johnson. “We’re excited to make Car2Go an important part of the evolving transit landscape in Arlington, enhancing existing transit options and offering residents greater choice and flexibility in their day-to-day lives.”
Car2Go first came to the Washington area in 2012, when it launched in the District.
“Car2Go gets Arlington going: Arlington is a city rife with energy and innovation, and here’s an innovation that fits the active, always on the go Arlington lifestyle,” says Car2Go’s website.
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Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Crystal City will soon be a “home area” for Washington D.C.’s car2go carsharing service.
The Crystal City Business Improvement District announced today that the carsharing service would be launching in Crystal City in the coming weeks. It allows users to park their borrowed car anywhere in the “home area” and find an available car via a GPS-enabled smartphone app.
The service costs $35 to register and 41 cents per minute, with a $14.99 per hour and $84.99 per day maximum. The car’s insurance, gas and parking fees are free (in the home areas), and car2go says it has hundreds of cars in the D.C. area. They can be driven anywhere as long as the user finishes his or her trip within the “home area.”
Crystal City is the first home area outside of the District for car2go D.C., and will offer at least four car2go spaces at the launch of the program. According to the Crystal City BID, any of the service’s 33,000 members may use the cars. The service will be the second carsharing option in the area, in addition to Zipcar.
Crystal City BID President and CEO Angela Fox boasted about the new service and hopes it spreads to other areas of the county.
“We sought it out but hope and expect they will launch in other nearby neighborhoods ASAP, because that makes the whole system more robust. The more options, the better,” Fox said. “Car2go is very popular, and we wants its users to know that they can get to and from Crystal City with ease.”
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