I just took a trip from my house to a client’s where I am dogsitting. I have no income other than the odd dogsitting job and try to drive rarely as I can’t really afford it, but since it’s a quasi-holiday with reduced transit service, I thought Car2Go would get me there sooner, enough to justify paying a few dollars more than my regular $2.25 transit fare. I was wrong.
I found a car parked near me and reserved it, but your smartphone app gave me no warning that the car had improperly been left with only 1 gallon of gas left in the tank. I was already on my way and stopped at a red light when I realized that not only was just 1 of 8 bars lit on the fuel gauge, but the gas pump icon was actually blinking and telling me only 0.8 gallons remained. As I rarely drive and rarely make the trip I did, I don’t know where the gas stations are. Siri was no help. Nor was your phone number. I went to one station where I was told they didn’t accept your credit card. But nowhere in the car or smartphone app is there any guidance as to what gas stations accept your card, or how to find one along your route. So I wasted several minutes of time–paying by the minute–for nothing. Because a previous user failed to leave the car with enough gas. And you seem to have no way of enforcing this rule except when the next user, like me, makes a complaint.
When I found another gas station that did accept your credit card (this time I was smart and told the car I was ending my trip, so as not to pay for time fueling it), I was already pumping 87 octane gas before I noticed a little sticker inside the gas tank cover saying the car requires a minimum octane of 91. I just stopped pumping gas and left, since I’d put several gallons in. If this is important to you, you might want to find a way to let drivers know clearly in advance of pumping gas. Perhaps a gas octane icon reading “91+”.
I’ve noticed recently that some of your cars haven’t changed their clocks from Daylight Savings back to Standard time. How is this not done automatically like computers and cell phones? Clearly your cars are already communicating back and forth to a server. When you have the presence of mind to remember that the car’s clock is an hour fast, you need only subtract an hour. But when you’re dealing with all the anxieties and frustrations that come with occasional car driving, it’s easy to forget that the clock is wrong and get confused or stressed out thinking you’re an hour late. Come on, this is stupid. Fix it.
Finally, your home zone (PDF) is not only too small; it makes no discernable sense. Neither your northern or southern borders in Seattle manage to go straight across our narrow city. You have a remote island of acceptable parking at the Fauntleroy ferry terminal–why? Your zone doesn’t seem to follow any kind of familiar boundaries like neighborhoods, zip codes, transit routes, city or political district boundaries, or anything else I can think of. Parts of it don’t even follow any streets! Seward Park would be a high-demand destination, but your zone stops just outside there. It adds complication and confusion when you draw what seem like arbitrary lines that delimit where we can and can’t park a Car2Go. Why can’t you make lines that are at least clearer–as rectangular as possible, and contiguous–if not simply follow the City of Seattle’s borders? We already know those because they’re fairly simple and also mark one- vs. two-zone fares for Metro Transit (and Sound Transit express buses until recently). If I don’t zoom in *quite* enough in the map on your app, my destination looks like it’s safe to park in when it’s actually 1-2 blocks outside–which I only find out when I park and get a message from your strangely accented robot voice telling me I’m outside the home zone and can’t park there. But it doesn’t tell me how far or in which direction, so I have to check my phone again. (Hint #2: It would be helpful if your navigation maps in the car marked the home zone)