BMW’s ReachNow car-sharing service is partnering with a luxury apartment building in downtown Seattle to offer dedicated vehicles for residents.
It’s an expansion of ReachNow’s free-floating car-sharing service in Seattle, where customers can rent BMW-owned vehicles and park them on any city street inside the “Home Area.”
ReachNow will initially provide two dedicated cars to residents at West Edge. Vehicles must be returned to the apartment building after each trip. ReachNow charges by the minute, hour, or day. It lets users to park during a reservation, allowing for a roundtrip to the grocery store or a weekend-long getaway, for example.
Residents will still be responsible for paying for their own trips. The idea for West Edge is to provide easy access to car-sharing in the city.
“West Edge was designed to embrace sophisticated urban living,” Greg Smith, CEO at real estate development firm Urban Visions, said in a statement. “Part of that reality is that not every resident needs or wants their own vehicle; our partnership with ReachNow allows us to add flexibility for our residents and enhance the experience of living downtown.”
ReachNow has similar deals with residential buildings in New York City, where it recently shut down its free-floating service.
It’s part of ReachNow’s attempt at growing beyond the traditional free-floating model. ReachNow last year launched its first “corporate fleet” at the 8th and Olive office building, giving employees exclusive access to an on-demand fleet of vehicles. But it shut that program down months later, partly because the vehicles were required to be driven back to the building if an employee rented a car from the dedicated fleet and took a trip.
“The round-trip model didn’t make sense for them,” ReachNow CEO Steve Banfield told GeekWire in June 2017.
Earlier this year Reach Now partnered with Intel in Portland to offer dedicated vehicles for employees.
ReachNow now has more than 85,000 members in Seattle, Portland, and New York City, operating a 1,300-vehicle fleet across the three cities. It competes with car2go and other alternative transportation options like Uber and Lyft. All are apart of a trend toward decreasing car ownership in the U.S. as more tech-fueled services, from ride-hailing to scooters to the Airbnb for rental cars, offer city dwellers more transportation flexibility.
“Car ownership, for a long time, has symbolized freedom and independence,” wrote The Wall Street Journal last year. “But in the future, it may be akin to owning a horse today — a rare luxury.”