News & Politics

Car2Go Users Can Soon Drive One-Way Between DC and Arlington

Photograph via iStock.

Although Car2go, the fleet of Smart cars available to rent by the minute, launched in Arlington last October, members on that side of the Potomac have been unable to use the service to drive to the District, and vice versa for Car2go’s customers in the District. That’s finally changing on May 26, thanks to regulatory tweaks by both jurisdictions that will allow Car2go users to make one-way trips that begin on one side of the river and end on the other.

Car2Go launched in DC in 2012 and currently has about 800 vehicles scattered around the city, where members can drop them in any legal on-street parking spot. The service added Arlington—with the same parking rules—last year, but so far has only garnered enough interest to sustain about 25 of its tiny two-seaters.

In order for the change to be made, Car2go needed the District Department of Transportation and Arlington County Board of Supervisors each decided to allow the company’s vehicles with license plates from the neighboring jurisdiction to park anywhere. Both governments said yes last month, clearing the way for the barrier between DC and Arlington Car2go trips. Previously, trips had to be contained within the jurisdictions where the cars were registered—effectively blocking, say, an Arlington Car2go member from using one of the cars to drive to a job in the District.

A unified fleet will make roughly 53,000 Car2go members around Washington happy, but the company, DC, and Arlington are banking on something else—Metro’s upcoming year of heavy rebuilding and extensive closures, which will force many of the rail system’s riders to seek out alternate commutes.

“Our residents, workers and visitors will benefit from a seamless car-sharing network that allows them to cross into the District, providing another transportation option for their daily trips,” Dennis Leach, Arlington’s transportation director, says in a Car2go press release.

Car2go is also dropping its $35 application fee this month and is offering new users 15 minutes of free driving time. Usually, its 41 cents per minute, capped at $14.99 per hour.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.