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Car2go raises prices, expands service

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A car2go smart car parked on OSU’s campus. Credit: Lantern file photo

A car2go smart car parked on OSU’s campus.
Credit: Lantern file photo

Car2go, a car-sharing service that offers point-to-point location rentals, has implemented an expansion and price increase, a company spokeswoman said. Meanwhile, some students who use the service said higher prices might mean they use car2go less.

The rate per minute to use a car has increased 3 cents from 38 cents to 41 cents, said Elise Lampert, a car2go spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, the hourly rate to use one of the cars has increased $1 from $13.99 to $14.99 and the daily rate has increased $12 from $72.99 to $84.99, as of Oct. 13, Lampert said. These are the first price increases since the car2go launch in Columbus in 2013.

The rates for the Columbus area will now be in line with the rest of the North American market, and will still continue to include fuel, parking, insurance, maintenance and access to any car2go car in North America, Lampert said.

Lampert said the price increase gives students a more quality service, with a larger fleet size of 250 to 300 cars, more drop zone areas where the cars can be left, an expanded home area and a recent expansion in the Bexley area.

Expanded home areas are set to include Easton Shopping Center and the greater Grandview area, Lampert said.

“We’ve really listened to feedback and tried to figure out how to make it easier to get from point A to point B,” Lampert said. “We want to make sure that we continue to provide a high level of service.”

Sarah Chasteen, a fourth-year in Spanish who started using car2go last month, said she uses the service to get to volunteer projects for one of her classes.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 10.24.19 PM

Click to enlarge. Credit: car2go North America LLC.

“Overall car2go has been a positive experience,” Chasteen said. “I like car2go a lot because it gives me a sense of freedom.”

Chasteen, however, when alerted of the price increase, said it will affect the number of times she uses the service when it’s not a necessity.

“The price increase is a bit of a bummer,” Chasteen said. “To me the word that comes to mind is frustrated. I think it will stop me when I’m just wanting to make trips to Target for fun.”

Chasteen said her personal car is still at home in Middletown, Ohio, which makes her reliant on the car2go service.

“If I could go without using the service I would, but (the price increase) won’t limit me when I need to go volunteer,” she said.

Kulraj Sumra, a second-year in computer and information science who used the service for four months in 2013 before he got a car of his own on campus, agreed with Chasteen.

“If this is just a one-time thing, I don’t think it will be a big deal, but if they increase it let’s say from 41 (cents per minute) to 45 (cents per minute) in the next few months, then I think people would stop using it as much,” Sumra said.

Sumra also said that he believes it will not affect new customers, but might encourage existing customers to stop using the service as often.

“There’s a certain trust between a company and customers and if you keep jacking up your prices incrementally, even though it is not a lot, it can create this sort of mistrust between the consumer (and the company),” Sumra said.

Still, Sumra said he found the service easy to use, and recalls many pleasant experiences using car2go to travel to downtown Columbus or to save him from cold weather in the winter last year.

Jingyu Zhang, a fourth-year in accounting, has been using car2go for two weeks now.

“It’s convenient for parking,” Zhang said. “You do not have to spend a lot of time to find a place to park on campus.”

Lampert validated this, providing information to the 45 parking spaces and 11 locations that are available for car2go customers throughout campus.

“I think it can be challenging to deal with transportation issues as college students, or even as a faculty member,” Lampert said. “It really provides an opportunity to open up the city of Columbus to students.”

Zhang agreed with Chasteen and Sumra, however, while she said that although she can still pay the 41 cents, she cannot understand why it has increased so much.

“I think it is kind of unfair,” Zhang said.

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