Anyone remember these green Volkswagen Beetle? Back in 2001 City Car Share began one of the first car sharing operation in United States, starting with a fleet of green Beetles. People paid an annual fee so that they can rent the car by hour, picking up and returning to a designated spot. I have joined in 2004, just as they were phrasing out the green Beetles and replacing them with a wide selection of cars. Let me tell you the Volkswagen Beetle is a terrible car. There was a good reason that this iconic fleet didn't last.
Fast forward to 2016, what a difference the landscape has become. Not only is car share exploded, hundreds of cars are available throughout San Francisco and beyond. We also have ride sharing, privately owned car sharing, bike sharing, scooters sharing, ... So many transportation options are available these days.
Now City Car Share has turned a new page. First they have merged with Carma last year. And now they are turning over their booking to Getaround. The news is bittersweet to me. Setting up as an non-profit, City Car Share is an oddity among other well financed companies. It is an accomplishment for them to have gone this far. It is perhap inevitable for a local company to be subsumed by large scale national company with greater resources.
Looking back to 2001 when the few people started City Share with a lofty goal to offer an alternative to car ownership, the success 15 years later is beyond the wildest imagination. Let's give a round of applause to this transportation pioneer.