The latest city to get a pack of Smart Fortwo vehicles awaiting your carsharing orders is Miami, FL, where 240 Car2go Fortwos are going into service today.
As regular readers surely know by now, Car2go's model uses "free floating" carsharing vehicles that can be rented by the minute. Instead of needing to return a vehicle to a specific place at a specific time, Car2go vehicles can be picked up from wherever they are and dropped off anywhere in the "home area." Interested drivers can find a nearby vehicle online or via smartphones. Rentals cost 38 cents a minute, with hourly rates hitting a maximum of $13.99. If you want a car for a full day, more traditional outlets will often be a better deal, since 24 hours costs $72.99. Plus sales tax, of course.
But then there's the Florida Rental Car Surcharge, which makes each rental cost an additional $2 per day. Rental car surcharges are having an unbalanced effect on car-sharing programs, and a DePaul University study (PDF) found that:
In many markets, including Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Tampa, one-hour carsharing reservations are taxed at well over twice the prevailing rate of sales tax. In seven of the 25 largest cities in the study's sample of 82 cities with carsharing services, taxes on one-hour reservations exceed 30%. Nationally, the average tax is 17.93% for one-hour carsharing reservations and 14.08% for 24-hour reservations. By comparison, sales taxes in cities with carsharing services average just 8.06%.
Ouch. Looks like there needs to be a better distinction drawn between car sharing and car renting.
In any case, as in other new service areas, Car2go is waiving the one-time $35 membership fee and offering 30 minutes of free driving to anyone who signs up "for a limited time." The code for the goodies is "heat." There are also two launch events with free food happening today, which you can read about in the press release below.
240 smart fortwo vehicles available for carsharing beginning July 28
Launch events feature free registration, free test drives, free driving minutes, and free food
MIAMI - car2go North America LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler North America Corporation, will officially launch a new way of carsharing in Miami, Florida on Saturday, July 28, making a network of 240 low-emission smart fortwo vehicles widely available and affordable throughout the City of Miami.
"The success of car2go around the world to date shows that we are in a time that demands and calls for new mobility solutions in urban settings, and we are thrilled to be working with the City of Miami and the Miami Parking Authority to bring the next generation of carsharing to the people who live in, work in and visit Miami," said Nicholas Cole, president and CEO of car2go North America.
The car2go carsharing model, when used alongside existing public transportation, serves to substantially reduce the C02 emissions and traffic congestion that are common in densely populated and vibrant cities like Miami.
"We are proud to welcome car2go to Miami," said Art Noriega, CEO of the Miami Parking Authority. "car2go will provide our customers the flexibility to use another form of transportation on an as-needed basis, thus expanding the personal mobility options available to those who work, live, visit or patronize businesses in Miami."
Open for Business
Beginning Saturday, July 28, there will be 240 car2go edition smart fortwo vehicles available for people in Miami to use and share collaboratively. Those who register to become a car2go member will receive a membership card that will allow them to gain access to and drive in any of the available car2go vehicles in Miami, whenever they need it, for as long as they need it, without having to commit to a return time or location.
Registration is currently open online at Miami.car2go.com. For a limited time, all new members who use the promotion code HEAT will receive 30 free minutes of driving time, and currently the one-time $35 membership fee is being waived.
A New Way to Carshare
car2go provides an entirely new way of carsharing that gives members 24/7 access to a free-floating network of smart fortwo cars. It differs from traditional carsharing or car rental companies, particularly in these three areas:
BY THE MINUTE: Members pay only for the time they use the car, by the minute, with discounted rates for hourly and daily use. There is no minimum amount of time that a car can be used. Whether a member needs a car for 10 minutes or an entire day, members simply get in and drive for as long as they want, without having to commit to a specific return time or location. Parking, fuel, maintenance and insurance are included at no additional cost, and there are no annual or monthly fees.
ON DEMAND: Members can use the first available car2go they find, via a smartphone app, via the car2go vehicle finder at car2go.com, by calling the customer call center, or by simply locating an available car2go. Reservations are not required because with car2go, members have unrestricted and unlimited access to car2go vehicles 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
FREE-FLOATING: Members can pick up and drop off a car2go anywhere within the car2go Home Area. They can simply drive the car for as long as they need it, park the car in one of the designated parking areas, and end the rental by swiping the card on the windshield reader. Instantly the car becomes available for the next member to use.
car2go is celebrating the launch of its ground-breaking carsharing program in the City of Miami at two events this weekend. At each event, visitors will receive free registration and 30 free minutes of driving time, learn how car2go works, test drive the car2go edition smart fortwo, enjoy free brunch, and have the opportunity to win prizes, while supplies last.
The car2go Miami launch events are taking place at:
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
July 28, 2012, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
2550 NW 2nd Avenue
BARU Urbano Brickell
July 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
1001 S Miami Avenue