By reporter Steven Smalley
You may have seen the little white Smart cars with blue trim parked throughout the city. They were spotted here in Magnolia too, either on the road or at the curb. Daimler Corporation’s Car2Go automobiles are rented by the minute in nine cities in North America, including Seattle since December. Equipped with GPS, customers park their rental cars when they have concluded their ride, then the cars are located by computer to be assigned to the next driver as demand dictates. That is where our story begins.
One of the benefits of renting a 38-cent-a-minute Car2Go is customers do not pay for parking in Seattle. It is free at meters and residential areas around town. Daimler pays the city $1,330 per vehicle, per year for the privilege, according to published reports. All of this looks good on paper until a car left in a 2-hour zone in the Village overstays its welcome. “We have a Car2Go that’s been parked out front since Monday at 2 o’clock,” says the bar manager at one of the restaurants. At the time of this report it had been there five days with no tickets on the windshield, according to the manager. “It’s Friday afternoon. It’s a big day for restaurants and bars. And we’re missing one parking place,” she points out. When a customer service representative was contacted by Magnolia Voice, they asked if the business had called the phone number on the rear of the car to complain? “We were curious to see how long they would actually let it sit,” came the reply from the restaurant manager. Later, Magnolia Voice spoke with a Car2Go spokesperson who was contrite.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may have created, but would certainly encourage any concerned business owners or residents to call us if they do have any questions about a specific car.” She continued, saying they, “Have a system in place for ensuring cars do not sit for long periods of time.” Then added, “They can always call the phone number on the back of the Car2Go if they have a question or would like more information. With cities growing,” she asserts, “There is a great need to look at ways to reduce traffic and parking congestion, reduce emissions, and find ways to help residents and businesses maintain a great quality of life…Car2Go helps to address that.”
According to the Village business, the Car2Go is now gone.
More about Car2Go can be found on their website here.