We love to share things in Columbus. Buses, bikes, cab fares-and now cars with Car2go.
We love to share things in Columbus. Buses, bikes, cab fares (see story below)-and now cars with Car2go. The concept: Hop in one of the 200-odd Smart cars parked about town, drive it and leave it almost anywhere afterward. You don't have to pay to park, gas is included and anyone 18 and older can use one-for three blocks or 300 miles. We wanted more details, too, so we tried it for ourselves.-Michelle SullivanGet started
Use a credit card to pay the $35 sign-up fee at columbus.car2go.com. While you wait a few days for the member card you'll use to access the cars, download the Car2go app to your smartphone. It'll come in handy later.Find it
If you're in the city core, you'll be surprised by how many cars there are (Car2go plans to have a fleet of 250 by the end of the year, says Columbus manager Nick Hill) and how close they can be. Use the app or website to view available cars in your area. View a car's fuel level and call dibs on one up to 30 minutes before you need to drive.Drive it
After you place your member card near the digital reader on the windshield and open the door, Car2go's touch-screen navigation panel and voiceover control give you instructions. Smart cars don't have much pick-up, but they're easy to operate. Ideal for one-way trips and errands for anyone sans automobile, the cars also cover "that first and last mile" of a commute to a bus stop or park-and-ride, Hill says. "A dollar trip can save you a mile walk." Take it anywhere, but bring it back to the home area (the 30-square-mile zone from German Village to Morse Road, viewable online) before you park it for good.Park it
Car2go vehicles park for free in public spots-even at meters. For a mid-trip stop, park anywhere you'd normally park, including private lots and garages (just be prepared to pay for those). Lock the car and take the keys with you to indicate to other Car2go users the car is unavailable. Word to the wise: Have an idea where to park beforehand. "It's a little rough Downtown, and we're working out a way to make it better," Hill says. Remember, you're paying for time spent circling for a spot.Pay for it
Once you scan your member card to unlock the Smart car, your meter starts and runs until you end your trip. Car2go automatically charges your account 38 cents per minute plus tax for time spent driving or in a stopover. Rates go down when a trip exceeds one hour.Uber arrives in Columbus
Hailing a cab is so last year. Now commuters and barhoppers can secure a ride in seconds with just a smartphone thanks to a service new to Columbus. Trending in cities including New York, Chicago and Charlotte, Uber users request an on-demand, livery-licensed driver in a luxury sedan or SUV through the free mobile app, which also tracks the driver's progress and previews the fare. Uber charges your credit card post-trip (no need to tip) and even lets you split the bill with friends. It's most reliable closer to the city center, but Columbus operations manager Matt Whiffen says Uber is sending more cars to the suburbs each day. uber.com