The Chicago Tribune reported this week that the company Car2Go is looking to operate in Chicago. The city council will vote this week as to whether they can operate here in Chicago. Car2Go, a car share company, allows members to pick up a car parked somewhere within a designated zone, use it for anything, and then park it somewhere else in the zone. The company is looking to operate, for now, on the North side, the loop and near South side. Certain areas of Lincoln Park and Lakeview are not included in the zone at this point.
Car2Go is different from other car share companies like Zipcar because they do not require you to return the car to the exact same spot it was picked up from. Based on this model, it looks like Car2Go allows more flexibility than other car share companies as it allows you to basically take one way trips. For example, if you want to go out for the night in a certain neighborhood, and are not sure how long you will be gone, you can park the car in your destination area and not have to worry about taking it home at the end of the night where you started. It appears to be a micro version of Zipcar. It will be interesting to see whether Zipcar adapts and provides more flexibility for their drivers and their ability to drop vehicles off at different locations. Car2Go is currently operating in eleven (11) U.S. cities along with cities throughout Europe and China.
Like Zipcar, Car2Go pays for insurance, gas and parking, while consumers pay for the time the car is used. Costs vary depending on the type of vehicle and the city — for a two-seater blue-and-white Smart Car, consumers typically pay about 41 cents a minute, $15 per hour and $60 per day.
There has been some opposition to this new ordinance, including from Ald. Michelle Smith, 43rd Ward, who represents Lincoln Park and opposes the ordinance, questioned whether the company will be paying the city enough for its privileges. (Under the ordinance, Car2Go will pay a $75 per vehicle fee for parking in areas controlled by residential permits, as well as property lease and rental car taxes).
The question that has to be asked is whether a company like Car2Go actually reduces the number of cars on the streets where they operate. A study cited in the Tribune article stated that found that between 2 percent to 5 percent of Car2Go users sold a vehicle because of Car2Go, while another 7 percent to 10 percent held off on buying a car and that a Car2Go vehicle removes 7 to 11 vehicles from the road, and reduced total miles driven and emissions.
We won’t immediately know the effect this company will have on Chicago. First, the city ordinance will need to pass and then it will take at least a year to study how often the vehicles are being used and whether we see less vehicles on the road. Call me dubious, but I just don’t anticipate a huge decrease in traffic in such densely populated areas. People will still need to move around the city, whether it’s through a car share company, their own vehicle or from an Uber or Cab.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago traffic accident or Chicago pedestrian accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.