ReachNow Launch Falls Short

Back in 2013, when Daimler launched its Car2Go carsharing service in Seattle, I lamented the fact that the Car2Go service area (the boundaries where cars can be parked and left for the next customer) stopped short of serving West and Southeast Seattle—two areas with diverse populations and, tellingly, more lower-income people than the Central and North Seattle neighborhoods Car2Go did serve first. At the time, I expressed some incredulity that Car2Go considered neighborhoods like Mount Baker and Columbia City “new and developing areas,” which struck (and strikes) me as code for “places that aren’t mostly white yet.”


Car2Go eventually expanded its service, and in 2015, the city adopted legislation that increased the number of “free-floating car share” permits that also required all new carsharing services to expand their service areas to include the entire city within two years. The implication was clear: If the city is going to give your members the right to park your cars in any legal parking spot at no charge, you have to serve the entire city, even the parts that may be less white—and less lucrative.

BMW’s new ReachNow service launch shows the wisdom of that rule. ReachNow, which costs 49 cents a minute (to Car2Go’s $0.41), has an initial service area virtually identical to Car2Go’s, excluding all of West Seattle and Southeast Seattle and stopping just a couple of blocks south of I-90, at S Lander St.  ReachNow has two years to expand its service area to include the whole city.

Reach Now CCO Sandra Phillips says the company launched “with an initial fleet of only 370 cars [according to the city, 363-Ed.] and a more compact home area to ensure that our members have access to a vehicle when they need one,” and said they’ll expand once they get a larger fleet. She did not respond to questions about why ReachNow’s “compact home area” extends all the way up to Northgate while excluding the entire southern half of the city.

Read more at Seattle Transit Blog.


8 thoughts on “ReachNow Launch Falls Short”

  1. Seattle City Light has proposed adding at least 10 DC fast charge stations to the City next year. ReachNow will need a whole lot more charging infrastructure than currently exists to keep those electric i3 cars up and running. Give them some time folks. This is not about politics or demographics. This is about the lack of charging ports. Right now ReachNow only has 2 ports to work with at their garage in Belltown.

  2. Thank you Erica Barnett, for pointing out the somewhat obvious. And for the record, we, to the south of the city do feel discriminated against.

  3. Signed up to try it out, but then realized they didn’t serve me in WS. I’ll probably get my own car by the time they expand.

  4. My 2000 Mazda Protege costs considerably less than 49 cents a minute to drive. Plus, it’s funner, safer, and much more convenient. Unless you live in an apartment that has no parking, it makes more sense to keep a car. If you live in a place like that, chances are the bus service is good, so you don’t need Car2Go anyway, except for the occasional grocery trip.

    1. “My 2000 Mazda Protege costs considerably less than 49 cents a minute to drive.”

      The driving isn’t the concern, it’s the depreciation, maintenance, insurance, potential for accidents, gas, and yes, certainly space in the density of a city. There’s plenty of costs you’re not factoring in for here.

      “If you live in a place like that, chances are the bus service is good, so you don’t need Car2Go anyway, except for the occasional grocery trip.”

      Bus service isn’t always great, and there’s much more than the “occasional grocery trip” you need to go to on the reg.

      1. A 16-year-old car is already depreciated, so that expense is gone. If he takes the bus to work and doesn’t rack up mega-miles each year, then insurance costs are low. And I know from personal experience that old Mazdas keep rolling along with few maintenance expenses. Yeah, I’m a transit guy, but Mr. Preston’s points are well taken. An old well-used car doesn’t have to be expensive to own and operate.

    1. Ah, but when a group of persons is not the “prime demographic to reach”… :/

Comments are closed.