Maybe you’ve heard of the car-sharing service, Zipcar. It’s like a club where members can borrow cars for a set fee. On Monday, the Seattle City Council is expected to approve another similar car-sharing service to launch in the city next year.
The newcomer is car2go. If you think they’re headed for a turf war with well-establish Zipcar, think again says Carrie Dolwick. “All the different models of car-sharing are really complimentary for people that are trying to spend less money on gas and car maintenance and scaling back on cars or vehicles,” Dolwick says. "The more car-sharing options we have in Seattle, the better."
Dolwick is the policy director for Transportation Choices Coalition, a Seattle-based nonprofit
that lobbies for more alternatives to car commutes such as biking, walking and car sharing.
Zipcar and car2go each target a different need. Zipcars come in various sizes and styles: from cargo vans to Mini Coopers. Car2go’s entire fleet is electric, two-seater Smart Cars. The cars can go about 80 miles on a full charge.
Dolwick has lobbied in Olympia for car-sharing services and says she sees plenty of demand for this type of thing. She points to Zipcar’s growth around the Seattle area. “They’ve gone south and they’ve gone west in Seattle, and they’re opening in Tacoma now,” Dolwick says. “And so, you know, their original model was ‘keep it near the urban center’ but they’ve seen the demand grow.”
Under the deal, car2go would buy special parking permits from the city for up to 350 cars. The permits would allow drivers to park at meters and in residential zones for up to 72 hours. No need for drivers to feed the meter – that cost is built into car2go’s service.
You may wonder if that means you’ll end up circling around even more to find street parking in busy areas. The city plans to keep a close eye on how that shakes out. If approved, the car2go service is expected to roll out in Seattle early next year