Car Sharing Program Hit During Winter, Expanding To Easton Area
Winter weather is fueling Columbus' car sharing program.
In less than four months, the fleet has expanded from 50 to 250 cars in and around downtown Columbus.
The rollout of these two-seater smart cars has come with challenges during a winter season plagued with unplowed streets and impassable roads.
But rather than putting the brakes on this on-demand transportation, it's been driving their use.
P.J. Ford uses a Car2Go vehicle at least once a week, to get from his apartment in Victorian Village to the OSU campus.
"It's really a hassle to park on campus, so like it's easy to go to a meter and you don't have to pay for it, you can just leave it there," Ford said.
Snowy streets and icy sidewalks have made walking to campus nearly impossible some days, and Car2Go has become his "go to," he said.
"They slide everywhere, but I mean, they still get the job done and if you just drive carefully you're fine," said Ford.
Car2Go's 34 square mile home area stretches from Merion Village, north to Clintonville.
Users buy a membership, and pay for each minute they use the car.
Parking, insurance and fuel all are included in the price.
Car2Go Location Manager Nicholas Hill says these environmentally-friendly vehicles are equipped with traction control and feature a higher lift to help them handle the snow.
But record high snowfall amounts have presented a challenge to their fleet.
"Our goal is to have every car moved within 24 hours," said Hill. "So we have a system that automatically puts them in a pool where we go and relocate them ourselves if they hit that mark."
After 24 hours, the cars are picked up, cleaned and relocated to a higher usage area.
More than 7,000 drivers are already registered Car2Go members in Columbus.
Just today, the company announced an expansion to Easton Town Center, where 10 parking spaces will be reserved for Car2Go vehicles only.