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Car Sharing Network Expands into Western Queens

 

Aug. 11, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

A car sharing company hopes to better connect Brooklyn and Queens by expanding its network into the borough.

Car2Go, an international car share company with a fleet of vehicles in Brooklyn, has announced that it will expand to Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside, beginning Aug. 29.

Similar to Zipcar, Car2Go is a membership-driven, short-term car rental service. However, Car2Go allows drivers to take one-way trips, picking up a car in one neighborhood and dropping it in another. In this way it is more comparable to the Citi Bike system than to Zipcar, which currently only permits round trips.

The company operates in several cities in Europe, Canada and the U.S. Here in New York, Car2Go specifically aims to reach communities that are underserved by public transportation.

“A lot of [the City’s public transit] is geared towards just getting into Manhattan, and it can be very difficult to get around your own neighborhood and neighborhoods right next door,” Car2Go New York general manager Thomas McNeil said. “You’re going to see a lot of people use it get around Queens.”

Members pay a $35 sign-up fee and then take trips priced per minute, per hour or per day.

Car2Go’s fleet lives on City streets; drivers can drop off their cars at any legal, unmetered spot. The company has a playbook for dealing with alternate side parking and other rules.

The Queens expansion will put about 100 vehicles in western Queens, with a Car2Go team dedicated to maintaining that number, according to McNeil. The company presently has 450 cars in Brooklyn.

Regarding Queens’ parking density, McNeil said the company’s philosophy is that Car2Go vehicles – which are small, two-seat Smart Cars – will occupy under-utilized space.

“On any given block you’ll see a spot that is too small for a normal-sized car, but is perfect for a Smart Car,” he said. “What we’re really able to do is utilize spots that aren’t being used.”

Community Board 2 Chair Pat O’Brien was less optimistic.

“Unless the cars are atomic in size, or subatomic, they’re going to have an impact,” he said.

“We have an incredibly shrinking pool of on-street parking options for people who own vehicles, and this is a commercial enterprise,” he continued. “I don’t think on-street parking is there to facilitate commercial enterprise, it’s there for the benefit of the community as a whole.”

For her part, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz spoke positively about the expansion.

“We’re excited to see Car2Go bring a sustainable and sensible transit option to Queens – extending the reach of public transit and helping our residents get the most out of our borough,” she said in a statement released with the announcement.

Local officials who have been vocal about western Queens’ transit options have yet to take a position on Car2Go’s expansion.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Councilmen Costa Constantinides and Jimmy Van Bramer declined to comment for this story.

Car2go Map NYC New Homearea3 by Queens Post

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Anonymous visitor

I owned a car in the city for more than a decade. When I recently gave up the car I started using zipcar and then signed up
up for car2go. I used to need to find a parking spot all year long on the street. Since giving up my car, I no longer take up a spot on the street and I know others have done the same. I understand many people need to own a car and use their car regularly. However, not everyone needs to own one and not everyone needs to use it for every trip.

I owned my car outright and didn’t have a monthly payment for the bulk of the time I had it, and my insurance was only about $80 a month plus maintenance. I had a very low cost of ownership compared to average ownership costs. That said since giving up the car and using car sharing services I pay even less per year as I only use the car when I really need it. I was really surprised how easy it was to get around and more quickly using mass transit (even the G train)!

As a former car owner, I can say the cost of car ownership is often difficult to calculate, and it’s too easy to just jump in the car for every little local trip, even ones that are better serviced by mass transit. Since switching primarily to mass transit I’ve been surprised how often mess transit is much quicker than when I used to drive and much more convenient.

If more people who didn’t really need their cars as much as they claim to switch to the car sharing services there’ll be a lot more parking spots available. Don’t blame the services that are used by many people blame the people insist on using their cars and instances when they’re not necessary.

In the words of Bill Maehr, when you ride alone you ride with Bin Laden. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_You_Ride_Alone_You_Ride_with_bin_Laden

Reply
Matt

I see these cars parked in the fringe areas of Brooklyn where there’s less access to public transportation, and generally easier parking. It’s a win, win.

They rarely compete for spots because unlike personal cars that sit in the same spot for days, they get moved ever few hours.

Reply
Southside Johnny

I’d rather we use our limited space for cars that are accessible to everyone. All too often, drivers find a spot and don’t move their car for weeks, except when they have to. Sort of like the city provides car owners with a free piece of real estate to store their possession. We need Citi bikes and SmartCars; sooner rather than later, please.

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Anonymous visitor

I own a car, and drive it to work, so I need my own car. I’m already looking into replacing mine with a SmartCar or other micro model. But maybe people who currently own cars but use them less frequently would get rid of them if these cars were readily available and cheap enough. Is there any data on that?

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