Feb 23, 2022 - News

New car sharing service launching in Columbus

A service map of a Free2move car sharing service in central Ohio.

The Free2move car sharing service area. Map courtesy the company

A fleet of 150 Jeep Renegades is soon headed to Columbus for use as short- and long-term rental vehicles.

What's happening: Carsharing service Free2move announced its Columbus launch yesterday, with plans to target local drivers shifting away from vehicle ownership in favor of pay-per-use car plans.

How it works: The Jeeps will be scattered throughout the local service area, each being within a five minute walk from any point on the map.

  • Drivers pay 56 cents per minute driven up to a seven-day rental price of $409.99. Think a night out with friends, an afternoon of errands or a weekend getaway trip.
  • A separate "on demand" service offers unlimited vehicle use for $699 per month.
  • These prices include costs for insurance, fuel and parking.

State of play: Free2move's expansion comes four years after a similar car sharing service known as Car2Go left Columbus due to a lack of membership.

  • Another car sharing operator, Zipcar, continues to offer round trips from its dedicated spots in town.

The intrigue: Free2move differs in that vehicles can be picked up and dropped off at most legal parking spaces in the service area and driven anywhere.

What they're saying: The company sees potential for Columbus despite previous car sharing failures because of the city's growth, chief operating officer Shant Mouradian said in a press conference, especially among the younger demographic that makes up Free2move's primary driver base.

  • Mouradian also touts buy-in from the local government, which charges fees for car sharing operators to place their vehicles on city streets.
  • "We see this type of car sharing as part of the mobility ecosystem," said Robert Ferrin, assistant director for parking services, noting other options like bike rentals, scooters and bus transit.

💭 Alissa's thought bubble: I used Gig Car, a similar service, when I visited San Francisco. It was user friendly and allowed for flexible sightseeing in remote locations of the Bay Area.

  • In a city with much less public transportation, I'm all for more travel options.

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