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‘Car2Go’ Expanding Service In Minnesota

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The funky little cars that have been turning heads in Minneapolis will be coming to St. Paul this Saturday.

If you’ve seen them, you’ve probably wondered about them: The tiny Car2Go cars that rent by the hour. How much do they cost, how do they work, and who actually uses them?

Since they launched Car2Go in Minneapolis last fall, more than 8,000 people have signed up. They pay $35 up-front for a lifetime membership, and then 38 cents per minute.

“I take a bus to work,” said Car2Go member Cal Sargent, “but it’s nice when I need to get groceries or have somewhere I want to go more quickly.”

The rules are simple. You pay from the start of your ride to the end, and can leave the car anywhere in Minneapolis, even a meter.

“That’s the great part about our service,” said Car2Go location manager Josh Johnson. “We include parking at both Minneapolis and soon to be St. Paul meters that are two hours or greater.”

It’s ideal for people who live and work within the city limits, so there are plenty of members in the North Loop, with all those condos and apartments. But it’s also great for married people – who don’t want to pay for two cars.

Karl Pearson-Cater’s family also uses Car2Go. He was worried about finding cars in his residential neighborhood, but the map on their app and website show where every car is, in real time. And it lets him reserve the one that’s closest.

“You can drive anywhere, park it, and you’re good to go,” Pearson-Cater said. “That’s pretty liberating.”

He used to drive a Subaru Forester, but when it died, he decided to stick with public transit and Car2Go. He’s saving about $200 per month in gas, insurance, and parking.

Karl and one of his sons even took one home from a Twins game, but the two seats do have limitations, so his wife does more of the heavy lifting with her car.

“I got three boys, and they’re all going to be in soccer at the same time,” he said. “But we dealt with that with two cars.

Car2Go says the average ride is about 3.5 miles, 21 minutes long, and costs just over $8.

Car2Go has 350 cars on the road right now. It’s owned by Daimler which also makes the SmartCars. So if they need more for the St. Paul expansion, it won’t be hard to get them.

There are actually three car-sharing programs in Minneapolis, although Hourcar and Zipcar have slightly different models.

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