Rent by the minute, park for free with new Car2Go service

Beginning next Wednesday, Seattleites will be able to try out a new car rental service that allows you to pay by the minute and perhaps best of all, avoid any parking costs.

It’s called Car2Go, a company similar to ZipCar that will drop 330 SmartCars around the city for people to rent for 38 cents per minute.

“Car2go will soon be one of many ways that people can get around our city,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said in a press release. ”We welcome this new, innovative transportation choice for Seattle residents and visitors.”

Seattle is the ninth city in North America to get Car2Go, a 24/7 car-sharing service that the Seattle City Council approved unanimously for a one-year test period.

Here’s how it works. After registering an account online with credit card information, users can simply find available cars using the smartphone app, website or customer call center. No reservations are required, but people can do so via the app.

After scanning a member card to a reader on the windshield, drive away for however long you want. Not including tax, it’s 38 cents per minute, which includes fuel, insurance, parking, GPS and roadside assistance. And the more you drive, the cheaper it gets — one hour costs a maximum of $13.99, and a full 24 hours is no more than $72.99.

Drivers can really go anywhere, as long as they park in a non-restricted curb side parking space throughout the car2go Home Area as well as any Restricted Parking Zone location. Customers can park at all parking meter locations without having to feed the meter, but may not end the trip in spaces limited to less than two hours.

If you want to grab a bite to eat, just leave the car and you will still be charged per minute. When you’re ready to end your trip, find a parking spot in the Home Area and you’re done. The car will immediately be seen as “available” for other customers to use.

Car2Go figures to compete with ZipCar and other new car-sharing companies like RelayRides and SideCar. The city Department of Transportation will report back on the program after six months and one year. Car2Go will pay the city $1,330 per car per year to cover admin costs and parking fees.

Car2Go is already in Portland and Vancouver, B.C. If you’re interested in Seattle’s service, you can register here. For a limited time, all new members who use the promotion code SOUND will receive 30 free minutes of driving time, and currently the one-time $35 membership fee is being waived.

We’re planning on giving this thing a test run when it goes live next week. Check back for an “unboxing” of Car2Go.

Previously on GeekWire: App of the Week: SideCar offers ‘spontaneous carpools’

  • Guest

    Very cool! Although Car2Go costs more per hour during active use, I like that I can park the car for hours at a time without remaining “on the clock” as with Zipcar. I look forward to giving it a try.