With Car2go set to leave Austin, future of dedicated parking spaces remains up in the air

A Car2go vehicle sits in a designated space on Easy Wind Drive in Austin on Oct. 1. The company announced it will cease operations in four cities, including Austin on Oct. 31.

A Car2go vehicle sits in a designated space on Easy Wind Drive in Austin on Oct. 1. The company announced it will cease operations in four cities, including Austin on Oct. 31.

Car-sharing company Car2go will leave Austin, along with three other North American cities, on Oct. 31 and will pull out of Chicago by the end of the year. The company made the announcement Sept. 27 that it will rein in its operations, choosing to focus its efforts in North America on New York, Washington D.C., Montreal, Vancouver and Seattle.

“We have to face the hard reality that despite our efforts, we underestimated the investment and resources that are truly necessary to make our service successful in these complex transportation markets amid a quickly-changing mobility landscape,” the company wrote in a Sept. 27 letter to its members announcing the decision.

Car2go launched in Austin—its first U.S. market—in 2009. The service allows users to rent an available car on an hourly basis, pick it up on the street, then drop it off anywhere within a designated service area.

In March 2017, the city of Austin signed a contract with Car2go and two other car-sharing companies, ReachNow and ZipCar, which the city estimated would bring in $855,612 in revenue through the end of the 36-month contract in March 2020. ReachNow ended its service in July, while ZipCar still offers services in the city.

Austin has dedicated parking spots for Car2go and ZipCar users throughout the city, and Car2go users are able to park at metered spaces for free. Jacob Barrett, a spokesperson for the Austin Transportation Department, said the city will begin the process to determine the future use of those spaces once Car2go officially notifies Austin’s purchasing office of its intent to leave the city. The contract has a 30-day out, meaning Car2go must pay the city for 30 days after the official notification.

Barrett said options on the table for the city could include negotiating with another company to continue using the parking spaces in a similar manner to the way they are used today or finding another use.

“If no alternate use is found, Car2go spaces in paid parking areas like downtown would go back to being paid parking spaces, and spaces in free areas would be returned to be free,” he said.

Kendell Kelton, a spokesperson for Share Now—a joint venture between Car2go and BMW’s mobility service, Drive Now—said Car2go has 92,294 members in Austin. In a January press release, the company said it increased its number of members worldwide in 2018 by 21% to 3.6 million, including 1.2 million new users in North America.

At that time, Car2go said Vancouver, Calgary, Seattle and New York were its North American cities with the most members, each with more than 122,000.

In Austin, Kelton said Car2go is “working with the city to ensure a smooth transition when we cease operations at the end of the month.”

In 2017, the company replaced its local fleet of 300 cars with Mercedes-Benz vehicles, citing an enhanced user experience that made it easier for drivers to access and start the vehicles from the Car2go app.
SHARE THIS STORY
By Jack Flagler

Jack is the editor for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. He graduated in 2011 from Boston University and worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Maine, Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in January of 2018.


MOST RECENT

In 2020, Capital Metro will put 12 electric buses into service. The first two went into operation Jan. 26 and feature artwork from students in East Austin. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
Capital Metro increases initial investment in electric buses to 12 vehicles in 2020

Capital Metro will now put 12 electric buses into service in 2020.

Dell Medical School will add a new program in the fall 2020 semester, while UT Health Austin will open an ophthalmology and its Ambulatory Surgery Center in 2020. Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper
Health care news to follow in 2020: UT Health Austin expands, Dell Medical School offers new program

UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of Dell Medical School, expanded its walk-in clinic in 2019 and relocated the clinic to the first floor of the Health Transformation Building at 1601 Trinity St., Austin.

The Pediatric Ambulatory Center of Excellence at Dell Children's Hospital is expected to be complete in June 2021. (Rendering Courtesy Dell Children's Medical Center)
Dell Children’s Medical Center campus readies for $113m expansion

Construction of the Pediatric Ambulatory Center of Excellence, or PACE, building is set to begin in March.

A photo of an older couple choosing produce
Neighborhood Note: Drippings Farmers Market relocates for winter

The Dripping Springs Farmers Market will move indoors until spring.

Nick Boyd opened a South Austin real estate company in January. (Courtesy Nick Boyd Real Estate Co.)
Nick Boyd Real Estate Co. now open in South Austin

Nick Boyd Real Estate Co. opened in South Austin on Jan. 1.

New dockless vehicles, such as Revel mopeds, have entered the Austin market, in addition to electric scooters, pictured here in West Campus. (Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)
City of Austin expects to see more dockless vehicles used for longer trips in 2020

When electric scooters first arrived in Austin in April 2018, residents and city officials alike raised concerns about regulations, safety and inconvenience.

Austin City Council directed the Austin Police Department to end enforcement of lower-level marijuana possession offenses to furthest extent possible under state law during a Jan. 23 meeting.  (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin police chief doubles down: Cops will continue citing and, in some cases, arresting for pot possession despite City Council direction

The City Council decision does not change how the police department handles marijuana possession, according to the police chief.

Trudy's North Star, located at 8820 Burnet Road, Austin, was closed as of Friday afternoon, Jan. 24, with a sign on the door saying the restaurant would reopen Monday, Jan. 27. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Trudy's files for bankruptcy, owes employees more than $267,000 in unpaid wages

According to court documents, the Tex-Mex restaurant's financial issues started with its Dripping Springs location, which lost over $1 million per year.

Students at Lee Lewis Campbell Elementary Media and Performing Arts Institute in East Austin point to their classmate holding the red bag, whose artwork is featured on the new electric bus. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
Capital Metro sets ambitious goal to eventually replace all 423 buses with electric versions

Starting Jan. 26, riders can ride the new electric buses, which will rotate among routes.

(Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Council members divided over hire of outside attorney in property protest rights lawsuit

Some City Council members said taxpayer dollars should not be used to fight taxpayer interests.

While a new store is scheduled to open in South Austin this March, the H-E-B located at 600 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin, will close this spring. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
South Austin H-E-B openings, closings and renovations expected in 2020

2020 is slated to be a year of major development for H-E-B in the South Austin area, with projects totaling $200 million.

Back to top