Seattle’s Pride weekend has come and gone, and some of you suffered through terrible traffic to get yourself around. Parking was a nightmare if you had your own car. Mass transit was literal hell on wheels. But there was a little sweet spot for getting around during Pride–ride sharing programs. Seattle is host to three ride sharing programs–Car2go, ReachNow, and Zipcar–while they duke it out to get you from point A to point B.
I own my own vehicle, and with Seattle parking difficulties it’s a unique experience. Ask anyone I know, and they will tell you that I love my car, a small AWD hatchback. Since I don’t have my own parking stall in my apartment building, it’s not always practical to drive around as parking becomes a grueling chore. I must resort to parking it wherever I can find space. And once found, I am content with it sitting in that secured parking for days, knowing chore of finding parking again if I move it.
I signed up with Car2go a few years ago for an easy way to get around town. I was working very early mornings at the time, before the busses in my area starting running for the day. Car2go served me well, since they take care of gas, insurance, and parking–and let me tell you, parking a Smart ForTwo is a breeze. The price was right too, charging $0.41 per minute, $14.99 per hour, or $84.99 per day. They also charge a one-time $35 fee initially to validate you as a driver, but every once in a while they waive that fee or offer referral incentives to compensate. Their fleet of 750 small Smarts are great for a driver, a passenger, and a small amount of cargo for those quick run arounds. You can’t forget the added bonus of Car2go covering gas, insurance, and parking so you don’t have to worry about it.
A new contender, ReachNow, recently entered the ring. BMW recently launched the ReachNow pilot program in Seattle to compete in the city’s car sharing market. Even though I already had my membership with Car2go, it isn’t often that I get to drive a BMW, so I saw this as a prime opportunity to do so.
I had seen the vehicles around before I signed up, and speculated that ReachNow was a program I wasn’t going to be able to afford. With Seattle being their new pilot city, though, they launched with a special for rentals to get the word and user experience out there. They also have a fee to cover driver screenings, normally $95 but discounted to $0 for the launch. They’ll normally charge $0.49 per minute but, as part of their launch initiative, are currently charging $0.41 per minute. As for the per-hour rate, the price cap is $50 for 3 hours and $110 for 24 hours. They also cover fuel, insurance, and parking.
ReachNow has some 400 impressive, new stable mates at your disposal–the BMW 328xi AWD, the electric BMW i3, and a plethora of MINI Coopers, including the 2 door and 4 door Cooper. I could have sworn I had even spotted a rogue MINI Clubman running the streets of Seattle.
I was able to attend Zipcar’s Flex Launch event on Wednesday, June 22, to gather insight on how they function. I never saw it necessary to sign up for this program, and so am not a member. For those of you who don’t on a vehicle, though, the perks of Zipcar are bountiful.
Zipcar is celebrating their 15-year anniversary, and they have learned how to cater well to their members. They offer a wide range of vehicles–from Subaru Crosstreks to Kia Souls, and Honda Fits to Ford Econoline vans. Some of these vehicles are outfitted with various bike, cargo, and roof racks to carry belongings of yours.
Zipcar differs from their competitors when it comes to pricing though. Along with the initial $25 driver validation fee, you will also find yourself paying a monthly or yearly user fee, depending on how you plan to use Zipcar. They offer members three plans to choose from. Their most popular plan, for occasional driving, normally $70 dollars per year, is currently 50% off. They also offer a commitment free plan for $7 monthly and finally an extra value plan at $50 a month for those avid drivers. Rent their standard fleet of vehicles starting at $8 hourly or $74 per day, depending on type of vehicle. Unlike Car2go and ReachNow, Zipcar has designated parking spots that vehicles need to be returned to at the end of your trip.
As of June 22nd, Zipcar introduced their Flex program, offering you a choice between the Honda Fit or Ford Focus, meant just for those impulsive drives. They’re a lower cost per rental–$5 per 30 min–as they are meant to be for short stints of time. Drivers must also adhere to the predetermined rental time and drop-off procedures. Though your usage can be modified for time length and drop off location during your rental. Zipcar also covers your gas and insurance amongst their near 500 vehicles.
Depending on your needs like a grocery run, mountain biking, or pumping up the jam with your squad riding shotgun, you have over 1600 ways of doing so.