Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Today I registered for Austin's newest car share program, car2go. The program is still in pilot phase and will be until this summer when it will be opened to the public. It was originally introduced to city employees and now they've started inviting a tiny flood of new folks. I don't know how selective their process is because all I did was send an email inquiry on pricing structure.

So I joined the pilot program and got my registration and monthly fees waived. I still have to pay the per-minute fee, but gas is included. And there's literally hundreds of these cars on the streets in downtown Austin. Even without the fees the per-minute cost structure is a little steep, but I'm curious to see if there's any utility for me in car sharing. Utility versus cost, that is.

Austin already has a car share program called, not surprisingly, Austin CarShare. I've always wanted to try it out, but the nearly $400 just-to-get-started fee was always prohibitive. Then there's the hourly and per-mile fee.

car2go looks to be 2-3 times the hourly rate of Austin Carshare. Gas and parking are free with both programs. I love the idea of car sharing, especially if you live in an urban environment. But what I need a car for, visiting my cousins (outside the operating area), driving to Corpus and Dallas (outside the operating area) and traveling to races (outside the operating area), it's not too convenient.

The operating area, which is essentially Oltorf to 51st, is such that if I'm staying within it, I may as well just bike. It would be nice when the weather's terrible and I had a bunch of in-town errands and I guess the infrequency of those scenarios explains why car sharing may be a helpful option for me.