BMW has temporarily suspended its car-sharing service in the New York City borough less than a month after launching there.
Two weeks ago, customers in Brooklyn first started noticing issues with the ReachNow app, which was showing only a small fraction of the 250 vehicles available to use.
@reachnow is there a problem with the fleet in Brooklyn? There's no BMW's available for the past few days on the app
— VGF (@VuGeitFur) December 5, 2016
— Mr. Green (@timesnewronin) December 9, 2016
really? Almost the entire fleet has been booked for three days now? It seems like last weekend there were tons, now none?
— Thomas Jay Nash (@thomas_jay_nash) December 10, 2016
In a statement, BMW said there were vehicle maintenance issues and a problem with the app displaying the correct number of cars. The service is now offline and will resume operations in early January.
“Due to a perfect storm of 3 factors: strong demand for the cars, unprecedented delays in vehicle maintenance, and a technical issue that caused fewer cars to show up on the map than were actually available, Brooklyn members were experiencing a deep shortage in cars,” BMW said in a statement. “To ensure that we deliver the unparalleled level of service that our members expect, we made the decision to take the system offline versus having members continue to have an experience that didn’t meet our standards while we worked to fix the problem. We expect to restore service in early January but are working to get it back online as quickly as possible.”
The Brooklyn “Home Area” spans north to Greenpoint and Williamsburg, south to Sunset Park, and east to include portions of Borough Park, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Bushwick. BMW opened its first east coast office there; its North American HQ is in Seattle.
Customers in Seattle and Portland, where ReachNow expanded in September, were not affected. The service has run smoothly aside from a few technical hiccups; BMW partner RideCell, based in San Francisco, helps operate the back-end infrastructure.
ReachNow found early success in Seattle and said last month that there are now 32,000 total members. It expanded in Seattle earlier this month — and Portland, too — and there are now 700 vehicles in Seattle, up from 370 at launch.
Brooklyn was ReachNow’s third city; it plans to launch in an additional seven North American metros. BMW is competing with other car-sharing services like Car2go and Zipcar.
There are also plans to offer much more than the free-floating car-sharing service. In Seattle, BMW is testing a pilot program this month for “Ride,” a new service that lets customers hail rides from within the existing ReachNow app and will compete with Uber and Lyft.
In lower Manhattan, BMW is testing another new mobility service, Fleet Solutions, which places dedicated i3 and 328xi vehicles that will remain on-site at select apartment and condominium buildings.