Snow disrupts car-sharing services

Portland’s snowstorm has interrupted business for car-sharing services whose crews have been working round-the-clock to dig out cars across the city. 


This morning Zipcar dug out the last remaining vehicles stuck in snow on SE 12th and Harrison. Team members have removed snow from 150 cars since Wednesday morning. 

Jeremy Nelson, general manager for Zipcar in Portland, said his team made efforts to shovel snow from cars before ice sets in, which makes the snow harder to remove. 

Unlike competing car-sharing service car2go, Zipcar did not suspend service for all vehicles when the snowstorm hit on Wednesday evening. It has kept service going for its all-wheel drive cars. Car2go stopped service for all its fleet in Portland on Wednesday night and resumed yesterday morning. 

Dacyl Armendariz, car2go spokeswoman, said the company sees fewer rentals of its vehicles in extreme weather. “This type of weather inspires people to stay at home and spend less time on the road,” she said. 

Car2go chose to offer a $20 drive time credit to customers that dug out the company’s cars. Customers shoveled snow from more than 260 of its cars in Portland, said Armendariz. Its local fleet consists of 460 smart cars.       

Photo Jan 13 10 16 34 AMZipcar’s Nelson said the company prefers to remove snow from its own cars as part of its customer service. But it will offer a credit to members that want to clear snow themselves, he said.   

Car-sharing businesses have introduced promotional pricing to boost business during the bad weather. Zipcar is offering promotional pricing of $199 to rent a car for four days (offer lasts until midnight Tuesday).    

Car2go is temporarily charging members 35 cents per minute to rent a car, down from 41 cents previously. It recently permanently lowered its day rate to $59, from $89. 

  

Kim Moore

Kim Moore is the editor for Oregon Business magazine.

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