Update: State ferry system advises drivers to avoid driving BMW ReachNow cars aboard until technical issue is resolved
Be careful the next time you take a BMW ReachNow vehicle on a ferry.
GeekWire has learned of multiple recent incidents with BMW ReachNow vehicles — part of the automaker’s car-sharing program in Seattle — getting stuck on Washington State Ferries, including two from this holiday weekend.
One knowledgeable source said a ReachNow customer was forced to spend four hours on the Whidbey Island ferry this weekend because his vehicle’s wheels were locked, making the vehicle immovable unless dragged. The state ferry system won’t let passengers abandon a car on the ferry because of security concerns.
Here’s a response from ReachNow to GeekWire today:
We believe that the issue is related to a security feature built into the vehicles that kicks in when the car is moving but the engine is turned off and the doors are closed. We are working to quickly address the cause in order to determine a fix. For any ReachNow members that were impacted, we are reaching out to determine the best way to make sure they get to their final destinations safely.
Update: On Tuesday, ReachNow published a blog post noting that “in the short term while we are testing a solution, we recommend that you avoid bringing cars onto the ferry.”
It’s not clear why this has been happening to some ReachNow customers but not to others. ReachNow customers are hypothetically allowed to drive wherever, so long as they drop off their vehicle in the designated “Home Area,” which does not include Bainbridge Island or Whidbey Island. But you can take a ReachNow trip across the water and come back to Seattle — BMW offers special long-term rates for these types of transportation scenarios.
ReachNow has also tweeted about taking trips on the ferry:
There's no place like Seattle – especially with the view on the ferry back from Bainbridge Island. pic.twitter.com/4FeB3xnedN
— ReachNow (@reachnow) October 12, 2016
— ReachNow (@reachnow) August 21, 2016
ReachNow last year made its worldwide debut in Seattle, its first location, before launching in Portland and Brooklyn. It has 45,000 members across the three cities. BMW is looking to expand in the Seattle region; it already had 700 vehicles in the area, up from 370 at launch. The company is also testing a ride-hailing Uber competitor in Seattle called Ride.