In an effort to facilitate urban mobility while reducing inner-city congestion, Lyon has just become the first city in France to adopt the concept car2go, a car-sharing service that has at its core a fleet of 200 low-emission smart cars.
The idea is innovative, brilliant and refreshingly easy to use.
If you need a vehicle to move about the city center, whether for a few minutes or a full day, simply unlock the car with your personal membership card and drive away. Cars can be located in the city using the internet site www.car2go.com, various smartphone applications or simply when you come across one parked on the street.
Members of Lyon's car2go pay a one-time, inexpensive registration fee of 14.90€ (approximately 20 USD). You'll then be charged .29 euro cents per driving minute and a rate of .09 euro cents to park during stopovers. The driving and parking rates cover all costs for insurance, taxes, parking and fuel. Discounted rates can be had for hourly or daily use.
It's that simple.
And when you're done, just park the car in any public parking place (admittedly not always so simple) or in a car sharing station inside the car2go business area. There's no need to pay for parking since that's included in your per minute rate.
For more details about using car2go in Lyon, you can visit the company website here (in French only) or this press release (in English) from Daimler, one of car2go's main partners.
If I didn't already own car, I'd seriously think of signing up. It sure would be more economical for short jaunts around town.
Then again, maybe I will anyway.