The City of Chicago approved a car share pilot earlier this year with Car2Go, the company that allows its rental cars to be picked up in one part of a city and dropped off in another. It is scheduled to run through June 2019 with up to 500 cars. The company states that it has gained more than 10,000 members in Chicago since the program began.
About half are two-passenger “smart” cars and half are Mercedes Benz sedans and SUVs. Customers pay a lifetime membership fee of $5 to rent the vehicles, which they locate and reserve using a phone application. The company pays for insurance, gas, and parking; while drivers pay for the time the car is used. Rental costs vary depending on vehicle type, ranging from $15 per hour for a smart car to $19 for a sedan.
Parking continues to be a problem for the service. Chicago Parking Meters, which owns the city’s parking franchise, continues discussions with Car2Go on how it can pay for meters. Car2Go users have to pay for parking meters themselves, if they use them, and cannot end their trips at one. Customers can park for free in residential areas that do not require a permit or in designated parking lots.
Alderman Tom Tunney, of the 44th ward – which is not currently part of the program – plans to wait until the pilot ends next year before reconsidering allowing Car2Go, said chief of staff Bennett Lawson. Tunney’s ward includes Wrigley Field.
“We need some mechanism to deal with it on game days and event days,” said Lawson. He noted that the ward has very few unmetered, non-permit spaces. “That’s something that would have to be addressed once the pilot’s over.”