One of the world’s, largest car sharing services has announced the unexpected closing of its operations in N. America and three European cities. ShareNow (Car2Go) said February 29, 2020, will be the last day of service in N. America.
The service halt also affects Florence, London and Brussels. Service will continue in 18 other European cities.
Car2Go had merged with another operation Drive Now, to form Share Now, operated by a subsidiary of Mercedes AG and BMW Group, although the cars were still commonly labelled Car2Go. The vehicles, mostly Smart Fortwo cars, and some Mercedes sedans, could be rented by the hour or day in what is known as a “free floating” service where cars can be picked up and dropped off in different locations around a city.
The service had been operating in Montreal, Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver in Canada, and in the U.S. in Washington, New York City, and Seattle. ShareNow pulled out of the Toronto market in May last year citing overly restrictive and costly requirements in the city. At the time it had 80,000 clients. In September, the Calgary operation ended as well. That left only Vancouver, the biggest N. American market with some 236,000 clients, and also Montreal with almost 103,000 customers for the 500 cars in that Quebec city.
The operations in Columbus Ohio ended in may, and in Denver Colorado, Austin Texas, Portland Oregon in October, and in Chicago this month.
ShareNow’s major competitors in Vancouver, Evo Car Share, and Communauto in Montreal, both were surprised by the news, saying it was too soon to know how they could deal with the void created by the closure.
Although not indicated, experts in the field suggests the increase in ride hailing, like Uber and Lyft, or bike sharing and e-scooter sharing may have played a role in increased competition.
- CBC: A. Migdal: Dec 18/19: Hundreds of thousands of Car2Go members to lose service as company pulls out of North America
- Montreal Gazette: J.Magder: Dec 18/19: Car2Go will soon be gone from Montreal and the rest of North America
- Globe and Mail: K.Holliday: Dec 18/19: Share Now, formerly Car2Go, to pull out of Vancouver in 2020
- CBC: J.Rietti: May 24/19: Car2Go to shut down in Toronto, blaming new city rules