The two largest car-sharing companies in Portland have announced that some of the vehicles in their fleet will now be equipped with bike racks.
Car2go launched in Portland in 2012 and currently has 475 cars in their local fleet. They first installed bike racks on their vehicles in 2014 then phased them out when they moved to larger vehicles last fall. At the time, company officials said bicycle users could put the seats down and stuff bikes in the back.
Those cute blue and white cars that have become nearly ubiquitous on the streets of Portland in recent years are going away. Car2go, a carsharing company with 54,000 members in Portland, announced today they will phase out their compact, 2-seater Smart cars in favor of a larger vehicle.
The news is being received with some jeers from the many users of the service who liked not just the small size of the Smart cars but the fact that they came with a bike rack. A 2015 survey from the company found that sixty-eight percent of their Portland customers biked at least once per week, and 37 percent biked five to seven times a week. 76 percent of survey-takers said they wanted bike racks the local fleet.
The more seamlessly mobile future we’ve been talking about since November has started to arrive.
On Thursday, TriMet announced that you can now begin the process of hailing a Lyft or reserving a car2go using their TriMet Tickets app.
“More options, including BIKETOWN bike sharing, are expected be included in the future,” the regional transit agency wrote on its website.
This is a milestone for two reasons: first, it seems to be the first time any transit agency in the country has offered this kind of service, which envisions transit users not as monomodal drones who only get around by train or bus but as actual humans who are constantly using different tools for different jobs.
Second, it’s a real-life step (though a small one) toward the vision spelled out by cities like Helsinki to “make car ownership pointless” within a decade by creating a single, connected “mesh” of options that can whisk you around the city as efficiently — more efficiently, actually — as owning a car and taking it everywhere with you.
Portland is one of 77 cities around the country that have put in for a one-time federal ‘Smart City’ grant that’s looking to promote big ideas about urban mobility.
An award is a long shot — only one city will get the $50 million prize — but the city’s application (which wraps together a wide variety of concepts for improving and integrating digital transportation data) is an education in itself, offering various details about the city’s vision that we haven’t seen publicly until now.
Soon after introducing bike racks to half its fleet, the floating-fleet car-sharing service car2go has made a much less popular change: it’s slicing its Portland service area by about a third.
The company said that areas east of 60th Avenue and northwest of Portsmouth, including Montavilla, Cully, Lents and St. Johns, had accounted for only 8 percent of trips and that 90 percent of car2go users surveyed said they were unsatisfied with vehicle availability. The company says that eliminating the least-used parts of the service area will lead to more car density in the remaining areas.
But that didn’t prevent digital howls Friday from disappointed users of the service — some of whom compared the problem to the one that’ll be faced by any future bikesharing system in Portland, too.
After a member survey found huge overlap between car2go users and bicycle users in Portland, the carsharing service car2go has now added rear bike racks to half of its 500-car local fleet.
Portland is the first city to get the racks, which are set up in such a way that the rear tailgate of the car2go can’t open on cars that have the racks. (The rear window, however, can still be opened.)
After what they call a “tremendous response” from a member survey, car2go announced today that they plan to outfit 50% of their Portland vehicles with bike racks.
Last month we reported on the company’s pilot of a bike rack for their Smart cars in response to requests from members. They put a few of the racks out on the road, got them in the hands of testers, and launched a member survey. Car2go’s Chief Marketing Officer Paul DeLong announced the results of that survey in an email to members today.
Fifteen years after Portland introduced commercial carsharing to North America, Portlanders are continuing to show how businesses that enable occasional car use can fit into a modern multimodal city.
Since car2go launched in Portland in 2012, it’s steadily grown its local fleet from 250 to 530 cars, the largest in the country for any single city and the largest in North America in cars per square mile of home area — 10.2.