Car2go's exit a roadblock for car-free Portlanders
Living the car-free lifestyle in Portland is getting less carefree.
The auto-rental service Car2go is pulling out of the Portland market, leaving only one private car-share option remaining for residents.
"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," Car2go announced Friday, Sept. 27.
"Though it still remains prevalent, studies agree that the sustainability of private car ownership in cities is limited," the company said. "The industry has been disrupted and the bubble will eventually burst."
Once upon a time, Portlanders could choose to rent from Car2go, Reach Now and Zipcar. Unlike traditional rental companies with set pick-up locations, all three were "free floaters" that allowed users to drop their car off nearly anywhere. Most car-shares charge for membership to the service, plus pay by the mile or hourly usage rates.
First to leave the streets was Reach, a BMW-backed company, which merged with Car2go in July. Now Car2go says its vehicles will disappear from Portland, Austin, Calgary and Denver on Oct. 31, and in Chicago on Dec. 31.
The company cited ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as electric scooters and bike shares as unexpected roadblocks since it launched in North America in 2009.
"Providing viable alternatives to private car ownership in increasingly densifying cities brings numerous economic and quality of life benefits," Car2go said, but "the transportation market is highly volatile."
Car2go will continue its West Coast presence in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
Getaround, a peer-to-peer car rental service, retains an online platform in Portland.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.