Just five years ago we triumphantly reported that Portland was the car2go capital of North America. That’s why the announcement that the company will cease operations here at the end of October is bumming out many low-car Portlanders.
In a statement to members today the company wrote on their website: “This decision was not made lightly. We have had 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.”
At its peak in 2012, car2go had about 530 cars available to Portlanders. That equated to about 10.2 cars per square mile. car2go merged with ReachNow in 2018 and changed its name to ShareNow. Back in July, ReachNow removed 350 vehicles from their Portland fleet. According to The Oregonian, when combined with car2go’s departure, that’s about 800 fewer on-demand vehicles available to Portlanders as of next month.
This is a big blow to the many low-car Portlanders who once enjoyed a top-tier bevy of options to having a car of their own. Judging by the response on social media we’ve seen so far, many people will have now likely consider buying a car.
“We have been a single car household since 2013 through the combination of Car2go and @trimet. This most likely means I’m back to having to own a car for those trips that trimet can’t accommodate,” said one user, expressing a sentiment we’ve heard from many people today.
This lack of low-car options comes at a time when many people face longer commutes after being priced out of housing close to their jobs. This demographic shift has had major implications for transportation in Portland. Some see it as a significant contributor to congestion, the decrease in bike to work trips, and the increase in electric bike sales.
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