BMW is expanding its car-sharing service to Brooklyn – The Verge – The Verge

Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2016

BMW’s car-sharing service ReachNow is expanding beyond the West Coast. After launching in Seattle in April this year, the service broadened its presence to Portland in August, and today announced the addition of an initial 250-car fleet in Brooklyn, New York. Among the fleet will be BMW 3 Series and the Mini Clubman.

ReachNow’s announcement means more competition to Daimler’s Car2Go and Avis’ Zipcar, both of which have an established presence in New York. The three services are similar in operation. Potential users register as “members,” which enables them to find and book cars through an app that indicates available cars within a certain vicinity. Upon return, users can park the car at any legal parking spaces.

BMW says ReachNow cars can be parked at “metered spaces within a city’s designated Home Area.” In Brooklyn, that area spans north to Greenpoint and Williamsburg, south to Sunset Park, and east to include portions of Borough Park, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Bushwick.

To become a member, users are required to pay a $39 one-off registration fee. ReachNow users are typically charged a rate of 49 cents per minute when driving, and 30 cents per minute when parking.

The launch and expansion of ReachNow capitalizes on the declining trend of private car ownership, and a rising demand for versatile and convenient experiences. Other notable car-sharing platforms that have launched this year include GM’s Maven and Ford’s GoDrive. Tesla also has ambitions for its own car-sharing service and Toyota has shown signs of entering the crowded market by recently launching its Smart Key Box device, which allows users to unlock a car and start the engine with a code sent to their smartphone.

When ReachNow launched in Seattle, Daimler issued a statement that echoes the competitive sentiment of the car-sharing market. “One-way carsharing is a complex business to operate, and any new competitor will have a significant learning curve to contend with,” a spokesperson for Daimler said. However, the company also went on to say that “the more mass transit, carsharing and ridesharing options people have to get around,” the better people’s quality of life will be because there will be less traffic and congestion.

In addition to ReachNow’s presence in Brooklyn, the company also announced a series of pilot programs that will take place in the next month or so. These programs include Ride, a service where members can order a driver or schedule individual and recurring rides, and Reserve, where members who wish to use a vehicle for multi-day trips can schedule the car to be delivered at a time and location that’s most convenient.

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