Well, the Venetian Causeway is still closed, and plans for the fabled Baylink rail system are still firmly in the "maybe someday" file, but soon you'll have an exciting new way to travel across the bay from Miami to Miami Beach. Car-sharing service Car2Go will expand its service to most of Miami Beach beginning October 1. The system replaces Miami Beach's first failed attempt at partnering with a similar but distinct car-sharing service offered by Hertz.
Beach residents, you've probably seen those cute little blue-and-white Smart cars scattered around the streets of Miami since 2012, when the program launched in the city. You probably haven't used them, though. Of the 31,000 registered users in Miami, only 2,500 live in Miami Beach. Miamians could hop into one parked nearby (naturally, there's an app to find them), drive them around for a fee, and then park them anywhere in a public parking spot, even if it was metered, as long as it was within Miami's designated city limits. (And no, the program doesn't cover the entirety of the city of Miami, just mostly the eastern parts.)
Well, now the option will be available to you Beach rats, and like the expansion of your Citi Bike system to Miami, the systems between the two cities will be interlinked.
This will also benefit city of Miami users too. Think about it. You can drive a Car2Go out to the Beach on a Saturday night without worrying about Uber's surge pricing. Get yourself properly wasted, and then jump into an Uber to get yourself home.
So what's the cost? First you're charged a one-time registration fee of $35. After that, rates start at 41 cents a minute. For $14.99, you get a full hour, and for $84.99, you get a full day. However, you're also charged a $1 drive protection fee per trip and 45 cents per mile for every mile after the first 150. You're not responsible for anything else. That's right — gas, parking, and even tolls are free, and if you have to gas up the car, Car2Go will reimburse you with free minutes.
However, for a limited time beginning today, you can use the promo code "BEACH" to get $10 off your registration and 30 free minutes.
"Since we came to Miami, we've been working to make Car2Go the most relevant transportation option for the Miami way of life," Car2Go Miami general manager Luis Campo said in a statement. "We recently began covering all tolls during Car2Go trips in Miami, and with this expansion to Miami Beach, we're thrilled to continue improving Car2Go based on what Miami residents and visitors want most. We're as excited as our members to finally offer a hassle-free new option for getting to Miami Beach."
You're probably wondering about parking these things in Miami Beach. As in Miami, you'll be able to park them in any metered space or any residential space, no payment or permits required. Twenty-six spots spread out across 11 public surface parking lots on the Beach will also be designated solely for Car2Go use.
However, the service will not be extended to Fisher Island, Star Island, Palm Island, Hibiscus Island, Sunset Islands, and Terminal Island. Residents on most of those islands can likely afford private chauffeurs anyway.
Maybe you remembered that Miami Beach has tried car-sharing before. In 2012, the year Miami introduced Car2Go, the Beach decided to give Hertz On Demand, later renamed Hertz 24/7, a chance. The main differences were that while Hertz 24/7 offered full-size cars, you had to pick them up and drop them off at designated parking spaces within city parking garages, making the program far less flexible.
The program did not go well. According to city documents, the fleet of 35 Hertz cars was used an average of only eight days a month. Though the program had more than registered 3,000 users, there were only 2,402 total transactions in 2013.
"The current car-sharing model provided by Hertz is neither meeting the city's nor Hertz's expectations," then-City Manager Jimmy Morales wrote in a memo to Mayor Philip Levine. "There are other car-sharing service providers, including ZipCar and Car2Go, that have a successful presence both locally and nationally."
Hertz itself actually sought to cut the five-year contract short in 2014, and the city then moved into discussions with Car2Go.