A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a Car2Go Toronto VIP Event by Jamie Leigh to learn a bit more about their new car sharing service in Toronto. I was quite excited to hear about the company when they first launched because unlike their competitors you can user their cars for one-way trips. Currently with Autoshare & Zipcar you have to drop the car off back where you started. The reason I wanted to attend this event was there were a few things that I still did not understand about Car2Go. Fortunately, one of the perks of attending this event was I got to try out their service for free for 3 days!
I decided to write this review because I really enjoyed using their cars and thought I could use this review as a way to show people how to save money on transportation while explaining how Car2Go works.
How Car2Go works?
To use the Car2Go service you first must sign up to become a member. When I signed up they had a promotion where you received a free membership and 30 minutes of usage for free. This has since changed to a 1-time registration fee of $35 with no minutes included. Once you register it will take 3-5 business days for your membership card to be mailed to you and then you can start using the cars.
To begin a rental you simply find one of their cars either online using their map or with their Car2Go app which is available in the Apple App Store under “Car2Go”. You can either reserve your car online (they will hold the car for you for 30 minutes) or just show up to where the cars are located.
Once you find a car, you simply scan your card over the card reader on the front windshield to unlock the doors of the car. Once inside the car you must enter your personal 4 digit pass-code which will begin your rental and unlock the key from holder in the dashboard. From there you can either plug in where you want to go via GPS or just begin driving on your way!
Once you arrive at your destination you have 2 options: finish your rental or keep the car waiting for you. If you choose to keep the car waiting for you, you will continue to be charged even though you aren’t using the car. If you are going to end your rental it must be done in one of their designated Green P or Target Park lots. The GPS in the car will show you where these lots are and you can park anywhere you’d like in the lots (though they suggest spots on the first or top level so that their GPS can find where the car is located. At this point all you have to do is put the key back in the dashboard, follow the instructions on the screen then exit the car and scan your card again on the front windshield to lock the doors. It is that simple!
Parking, fuel (or recharging), maintenance and insurance are included at no additional cost, and there are no annual or monthly fees. If you need to fill up a car that has less than 1/4 tank of gas, Car2Go will even top up your account with some additional minutes as a “thank you”!
The Car2Go Cars
From what I can tell, it looks like Car2Go is a subsidiary of Daimler AG and their fleet consists entirely of Smart Fortwo cars. These cars have 2 seats and quite adequate trunk space. I have to admit I found the driving of the car to be quite jerky but after someone recommended I try the tiptronic option I found the ride to be a bit smoother. I’ve always thought the cars were rather funny looking and have never been a huge fan of their looks, but they are a good option for getting you from A to B.
There is surprisingly quite a good amount of trunk space in the cars also, so they can be good for running some errands.
Car2Go bills in a few different ways depending on the length of your usage. Here are the rates as listed on the website:
Per minute – $0.35 plus HST
Per hour maximum – $12.99 plus HST
Per day maximum – $65.99 plus HST
Per km after 200 km per rental – $.45 plus HST
Based on the above, I would say the best value of the Car2Go service comes from making short trips, trips that take about an hour or if you are going to need a car to do many things throughout a day. If you think about it, an hour long taxi ride would probably cost you well over $50!
One Car2Go member on Twitter posted that they took a mini-getaway with their Car2Go to Niagara Falls. The total bill was around $100:
The biggest benefit I see for Car2Go is the pricing. They are a great alternative to taking public transportation or a taxi in several ways. If you need to travel to a part of the city that isn’t very accessible by TTC, you can cut your travel time down significantly! The way I intend to use my Car2Go membership a lot is if I am planning to go out for a night on the town and don’t know how much I will be drinking. You can take the car to your destination and if you have too much to drink you can cab it back. Their rates are way cheaper than a taxi making them one of the best alternatives! Also, if you are with another person, taking a short trip in Car2Go can be much cheaper than paying for 2 people to ride on the TTC yet much faster and more fun!
Some other ways that the service can be great is if you are going somewhere that parking is typically very expensive (ie. concert or game). Since parking is free in Green P and Targetpark lots you can save what you would pay on driving by using one of their cars and you don’t have to worry about gas getting there!
To summarize, here are the key benefits I see with Car2Go:
- Cheaper than taxi and public transportation in many cases.
- Save money on parking instead of using your own car.
- Fast way to get around the city.
- Can allow you to get rid of your car if you rarely use it.
- Fun way to test-drive a Smart car if you are thinking about buying one.
- Easy to use.
- Can use for a one way trip, or a round trip unlike other car sharing programs.
While I really do love what Car2Go has to offer, there are some things you should take into consideration:
- Since Car2Go uses Smart cars, you can only have 2 people in a car at any given time. If you could get more people in, the value of the service would jump quite significantly!
- The cars drive quite jerky and I am not a huge fan of the way they drive, but for getting around short distances they are great.
- The trunk space is ok, but not great for moving large items.
- If you reach your destination and the lot is full you will have to find the next available lot which could be a huge inconvenience.
- Rush hour traffic could cause you to run up your bill quite quickly. For this reason I would recommend using their cars only when traffic is lighter on the roads.
Overall Car2Go Conclusion
I am very happy with my Car2Go experiences so far and will definitely continue to use their service when I need to. I find the pricing is very reasonable and the service is super easy to use! While I am not a huge fan of the cars, I think they serve a great purpose and make it easy to get around the city smoothly and are a great alternative to a taxi and on some occasions, public transportation!
If you have any questions about Car2Go, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to answer them ASAP!
SPECIAL PROMOTION OFFER
If you sign up to Car2Go before September 28th and use my name, “Graham Rowlands”, in the promotion code field when you sign up, you will receive 15 minutes of FREE driving time. (Full disclosure: I will also receive 15 minutes free time if you use my name as a referral. If you know someone else with a Car2Go membership you can you there name and they will get the free minutes too!)
Car2Go Contact Information