How did @Car2goLA fail in the #SouthBay

car2go

After months of trying to obtain updates on the progress of Car2goLA, company spokesperson Adrianne Andang, was forced to publicly acknowledge the companies demise through the Daily Breeze.  Car2go was in business for less than a year before suspending operations.

Car2go first appeared on the radar of the South Bay via a relationship with Jacki Bacharach, Executive Director of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG).  Bacharach is also a former Rapid Transit District (RTD) employee who created the joint power authority, which also receives several M&O contracts for outreach of Metro services and is part of the Measure R Oversight Committee.

Ironically, the relationship produced no synergy between Car2go and local transit authorities who could have partnered to meet the “last mile” needs of transit riders.  A huge goal of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).

Instead, Car2go sponsored two SBCCOG General Assembly’s and received reduced and/or free parking throughout some of the South Bay cities, who green lighted the project.  Only a handful, of the 16 cities SBCCOG represents, signed on.

Car2goLA, a subsidiary of Chrysler-Daimler, failed at a rapid pace.  Local startups averaged four years in business.  Despite manufacturing their own fleet, receiving reduced and/or free parking in multiple cities, sponsoring government events and having city council approval handed to them on a silver platter, the company announced May 4, 2015, they are suspending operations.  The company also abruptly closed its London operations a year prior.

Car2go offers a one-way service, which works best with free floating parking.  Free floating parking allows you to pick up in one city and drop off in another.  Therefore, parking arrangements must be made with multiple cities, in order for this to work.  In the case of the South Bay, some cities charge for parking while others do not.  The City of Torrance is one of the cities who is limited on metered parking.

Car2goLA launched with 150 cars and a full staff but had zero knowledge of how to market and increase average hours used, to make the venture sustainable and with a daily rate of $85, who would pay that much to rent a smart car?

Car2goLA relied on paying their way in, via the SBCCOG, and their ROI is still yet to be determined.

Related article:  Car2go car-sharing service to suspend operations

Car2go announced they will instead focus on working with Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Car2go is presumed to be a large campaign donor to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s reelection bid for 2017.  Mayor Eric’s campaign page has a portion dedicated to Angeleno’s sounding off on whether they want free-floating car sharing throughout the city.

Conversely, the South Bay arrangement would prove too costly having to support 16 city elections, continuously.

Car2go will have to pay a pretty penny to get Mayor Eric to support such a notion of privatizing parking meters, especially when the public finds out our parking needs will be reduced in favor of a corporation who is paying off the mayor via campaign contributions or donations to his nonprofit.

Related article:  San Francisco creates on-street parking for carshare operators, residents cry foul

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds privatized the Streets of San Francisco before moseying south to the City of Angels.  Is that what she is here to do?

Never say what you can’t do because you aren’t “big” enough or have buy-in/support from elected officials.  Small businesses like you and I don’t get government support because we can’t afford to spend $1,400 on campaign events, to gain access, that doesn’t translate into tangible business.  Car2go proved money can buy you access to government but not customers.

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