Late last year we brought you news that the City of Austin, Texas, had launched a pilot of Daimler's resource sharing car2go program. Well, after a successful trial, this May the city will go public with the car-sharing system. The pilot began with a joint partnership between the City of Austin and Daimler where 200 smart fortwo vehicles were made available 24/7 within the city to a select group of city employees and their relatives. Now, the number of cars has been increased and all Austin residents and students can apply to utilize them.
car2go is a subsidiary of Daimler, whereby a fleet of environment-friendly smart fortwo vehicles are available for rent “on-demand,” and members may use the vehicle for as long as they like, without committing to a specific time to return the vehicle. Drivers don’t have to return or drop the car at a designated spot, rather, they can complete the rental in any available public parking space within the greater downtown Austin area or at one of the specially marked car2go spaces.
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Based on the success of a similar program in Ulm, Germany, where 200 vehicles are rented 500 to 1,000 times per day by roughly 15,000 customers or 15 percent of the citizens who possess a driver’s license in Ulm, the Austin pilot program targeted 60,000 employees within a 17 square mile area in the city. The system allows users to book a vehicle in advance but the pilot showed that 90 percent of the participants took advantage of the unique offer to use car2go spontaneously and for one-way trips.
Under an agreement with the City of Austin, all car2go members are allowed to use on-street parking in Downtown Austin for free and, for the privilege, car2go is paying a usage fee to the City of Austin in the form of driving minutes for its employees’ business trips. As it has been such a success, car2go and the City of Austin will extend the partnership until November 2010.
Charges for using car2go are not based on distance, but on time – with rates starting by the minute and competitive hourly or daily rates available for those needing longer rental periods. The rates are all-inclusive, with the cost of all fuel, maintenance and insurance covered.
Austinites will have the opportunity to register for a car2go membership at the launch event, but can also pre-register online beginning April 21, 2010 and pick up their membership cards onsite at the event.View gallery - 2 images