Rouan, The Columbus Dispatch
February 13, 2014
Car2Go users who want to catch a movie or do some shopping will be able to park the vehicles at a new set of spaces at Easton Town Center starting this weekend.
The company will begin posting signs for 10 designated spaces at the mall on Friday, said Nicholas Hill, Car2Go’s Columbus location manager. The spaces will be divided into two groups of five: one near Trader Joe’s and another in the northeast corner of the mall.
Those spaces, which can hold as many as 20 of the Smart Cars if they double park, will be reserved for Car2Go vehicles, he said.
“It’s not just a mall. It’s a movie theater. There’s (Life Time) Fitness. There’s literally everything out there,” Hill said. “It will just be a bubble around (Easton). It’s not like we’re extending our home area.”
The move to Easton is the second expansion outside Car2Go’s 34-square-mile home area since it launched in Columbus last year. The company has a deal with the private operator for Ohio State University’s parking operation to use 45 spaces. Members can park at almost any public space in Columbus, including meters.
Users buy a membership and then pay for each minute they use the car. Parking, insurance and fuel all are included as part of the price.
Car2Go started with 50 cars in Columbus but has expanded its fleet to 250. Hill said the company has registered more than 7,000 members in Columbus.
“That exceeds expectations for Columbus,” he said. “Our goal was significantly lower than that.”
Worldwide, Car2Go has more than 500,000 members. In Austin, where the company’s U.S. headquarters is based, more than 32,000 have become members since its March 2010 launch.
The company has more than 12,500 members in San Diego, which has a similar home area as Columbus, but more vehicles.
The cars have been a hit in Columbus with millennials, who see them as an alternative to owning a car, said Bryan Stewart, a spokesman for the Ohio Public Interest Research Group. That organization has released several reports in the last year showing that young people are driving less.
He said the cars are frequently driven around the OSU campus and the expansion will give more students an opportunity to visit Easton.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for more Ohioans to have a chance at using this new way to get around,” he said.
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