Since last fall, small blue cars have appeared on the streets of Montreal: the Smart cars of the Car2Go service. Hailing originally from Germany, this service allows you to make trips for $ 0.38 per minute. Armed with our phones, driving licenses and our service subscriber cards, we tested the system.
The format of the Smart car is perfect to sneak into the city and park anywhere. The cars are very nice to drive, although it’s best to use the manual transmission mode, because the automatic mode can be a bit jerky.
To find a car close to where you are and book it, you can use the Car2Go application, which is fairly convenient and fast: a map lets you easily find the vehicle location, see its fuel level and condition and reserve it. Once the vehicle is reserved, the car is there waiting for you.
When you get to the car, you’re guided by two screens. The first is located next to the card reader from outside the car and allows you to unlock the car with the car2go card and to know whether the car is borrowed. The other screen, located in the main console of the car, shows the steps needed to start the car and serves as a GPS and to control the radio. We were surprised at the ease of access to the car and we appreciated that each step was clearly identified.
Some room for improvement
During the trip
While renting the car, we found that the car had multiple elements to guide its use, but were surprised to find that the rental time was not displayed in the car or on the app, so you don’t know how long you’ve been using the service or how much you’ve spent. It’s somewhat difficult to find: You can view the information afterwards on the website, located at the bottom of the page in the travel history.
Parking the car
Once the vehicle is parked, you continue to be responsible for parking for the next 24 hours, unless another driver takes it in the meantime. This is one of the most stressful elements of the experience, as there is always some doubt remaining as you walk away from the car, which often left us closely examining the parking signs.
De l’aide s’il vous plaît…
The cars are equipped with a live help button, but in our experience the call quality is fairly bad and those of us who have used it have been forced to call the service directly with their phone. This was pretty striking to us as billing it the SOS button would suggest more reliability in the system.
Car2Go offers a very interesting experience, but some elements at the end of the experiment could be improved.
And you? Have you tried Car2Go?