Guest Blog | Transportation is personal: Car2Go a critical thread to the fabric of our urban city

Guest Blog | Transportation is personal: Car2Go a critical thread to the fabric of our urban city

Car2Go, the premiere ridesharing service in our city, announced on May 24th, 2018 that they are shutting down Columbus operations today (May 31st, 2018). With 32,000 subscribers utilizing the service, some making it their primary mode of transportation such as myself, this came unexpectedly to many in our city. Car2Go continued to expand coverage and upgraded its entire fleet of vehicles in 2017, leading users to believe that the ride-sharing business was thriving.

The Dispatch cited that one reason Car2Go gave for exiting the city was slow adoption. On the heels of Columbus receiving the Smart Cities grant, the departure of Car2Go should not be something overlooked by other innovative companies and the city alike.

The article also shared comments from officials who said Car2Go would be missed but that they didn’t consider losing it a blow to the city’s efforts to encourage drivers to shift to other modes of transportation through its Smart Columbus initiative. This could not be further disconnected from the reality of progressive transit enthusiasts such as myself. Early adopters are key to the success of shifting a city’s transit culture. Car2go was that flagship program, existing well before Smart Columbus. It introduced people who live, work, and play in our city’s core a flexible alternative to using their own cars that would otherwise be clogging up our freeways, parking lots, and downtown streets.

As a person who prides herself on not being a car owner, this announcement with only 7 days notice before services end is devastating and will impact my adoption decisions with other private companies. I loved the need Car2Go fulfilled, but now I see more than ever why public mass transit is so critical. COTA, our public mass transit authority, would have never been allowed to do make such radical changes that impact residents with just 7 days notice.

If the city chooses to move forward with future with public-private transit partnerships, it is critical that the residents they serve do not get overlooked. It’s known that innovative transit models may not be sustainable long-term, but the city should do more to ensure a gradual phase-out agreement is in place before the partnership is solidified, should a venture be found unsuccessful.

If the city and its partners want us as residents to shift our lifestyles, it also must understand that abruptly revoked services such as this one will create a significant adverse effect on the lifestyles we were encouraged to adopt. Our lifestyles are built around these modalities. Many of us who do not own cars are now scrambling to find down payments to re-purchase a car by today or find other cost and time-effective methods to make it to our places of work, pick up groceries, and other daily tasks.

Transportation is personal. It is the most basic way residents connect. Transit options must be dependable for effective adoption to take place. When an entire modality abruptly ends, it creates a missing thread in our city’s transit culture and leaves users sideswiped and less willing to trust future private alternatives that can be pulled out from under us without advanced notice or a single public hearing.

Brooke Wojdynski is owner of Verve Creative and a Short North resident.

Priorities and Vision


It’s time to move the conversation forward, Columbus.

Insight 2050, CBUS, UBER, COGO, Car2go, Connect Columbus, TSR, JET Task Force, and COTA Next Gen: all new projects, and in some cases new words, that didn’t exist a couple of years ago. This, combined with strong neighborhoods, record development and new city leadership, is creating new vision.

Much of the vision we can already see: retail downstairs, residents upstairs, shade trees, sidewalk cafes. This is, smartly, a city self-consciously reinventing itself for the 21st century. And we are well on our way to this vision. It’s already happening. A click onto Columbus Underground’s development page will show countless examples.

This is no more little big town. We’re grown up. The Columbus landscape is changing… its people are changing…its generations are changing…its neighborhoods are coming alive.  We are at a tipping point: of WHO WE WERE- and WHO WE WILL BE.

And it’s decision time.

These are scary, expensive, and difficult decisions. They can also be exciting, groundbreaking and transformational. If we are going to invest in new modes of transportation, we’re going to have to think creatively and differently about funding streams.

But let’s not get ourselves worked up into a “funding tizzy” (although there will come a time for that conversation). But the truth is- we’ll figure it out. Money follows a City’s priorities and vision.

So let’s talk priorities and vision.  Let’s talk about the City we want to be, and how we build it.

-Elissa Schneider

Chair, Transit Columbus