Why own when you can borrow?
The average payment for a new car in the United States is $479 per month. Insurance can cost an additional hundred bucks or more, so let’s figure it costs somewhere around $600 per month to own a new car. Factor in monthly fuel costs, parking fees, and general maintenance, and costs can get close to $1,000.
It’s no wonder some people choose to forgo car ownership in favor of public transportation or car sharing.
Car sharing has found pockets of success in the U.S., but BMW hopes that the new service it’s starting in Seattle will eventually benefit car sharers nationwide.
BMW ran a service called DriveNow in the San Francisco area for three years before ending the program last year amidst problems negotiating with the city for parking spots.
Now a similar program, called ReachNow, will begin in Seattle, with a fleet of 370 vehicles scattered throughout the city and surrounding areas.
Here’s how MotorTrend describes the program:
Customers can download the ReachNow app and book the closest available car in BMW’s fleet. When they’re finished with the car, they simply return the car to any legal parking space on the street. ReachNow will also offer long-term car rentals, car sharing for residential and corporate groups, and car deliveries at a specific location. Buyers can also choose an Uber-style service and book a car with a driver.
The initial fleet will include BMW i3, BMW 3 Series, and MINI Cooper vehicles. The service charges drivers $0.49 for each minute the vehicle is used and $0.30 for each minute the vehicle is parked. Rates cap out at $50 for up to 3 hours, $80 for 12 hours, and $110 for a full day. These prices include insurance, fuel, and even parking at public meters on the street.
Obviously the ReachNow program is far more expensive than traditional car ownership if you need to drive more than, say, six full days out of the month. However, people who only need a car occasionally and for just a few hours at a time could find ReachNow to be a perfect compromise between public transportation and car ownership.
Would you give up your car and use a car sharing program like BMW’s ReachNow?