By: Santiago Morfin/ Blogger
Miami has often been categorized as a city that is unfriendly to “car-free” people. The city’s extensive geographical reach coupled with its severely limited public transportation system has made transit a major time consuming activity for out-of-towners and those unwilling to purchase an automobile. These challenges have forced them to search for new alternatives. Car2go may be a solution for those looking to avoid the hassles of vehicle ownership or traditional rental companies while still having on-demand access to a car. Introduced in Austin, Texas in 2009, Car2go’s concept is having environmentally friendly Smart Fortwo cars available for rental across major metropolitan areas in order to reduce traffic and parking clutter. Unlike conventional rental companies, reservations are not needed. If you see a Car2go Smart parked on the street you can simply grab it, as long as it’s not in use by someone else.
The fact that Car2go offers rentals at an affordable price and with significant benefits has compelled some Miami residents to use it on a regular basis. Jessica Gross lives in Edgewater and works in Coconut Grove. “I use Car2go five times a week to go to work. I like that it includes gas, insurance, and parking.” After registering online for a $35 fee you can rent a Smart car for either $0.38 per minute, $13.99 per hour, or $72.99 per day. As long as you are within the “home area” spanning from Coconut Grove to North Miami you can end your rental in any non-restricted meter parking space. If you wish to continue your rental while running an errand, you can use the “stopover” mode and park for free in any meter spot operated by the Miami Parking Authority.
Car2go has become an alternative to conventional car rental for young businessmen from out-of-town as well. “Traditional companies overcharge rentals for people under 25 even if they have good driving history. For Car2go you only need a valid driver’s license and a decent driving record,” said Atlanta resident Raimundo Onetto. Car2go runs a background check on you to verify that you don’t have any recent moving violations, reckless driving tickets, or a criminal record. Once cleared, you have access to the 250 Smart cars across Miami and many more throughout the world. “In a traditional company there are large penalty fees if you forget to fill up the tank. With Car2go, you don’t need to worry about that,” added Onetto. A gas card with money is available inside every Smart in case you run out of gas, but it is not mandatory to fill up. There is a street team that services each and every car when they are low on fuel.
Car2go is driving us into a future with alternate means of transportation. “Besides my bike, Car2go is my main form of transportation,” stated Gross. In a city like Miami, few have ever fathomed the possibility of living without owning a car. Today it’s a reality.