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MPR News

Car2Go area shrinks across Twin Cities

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A Car2Go sits outside St. Paul City Hall
A Car2Go sits outside St. Paul City Hall.
Peter Cox | MPR News 2014

Car2Go will reduce its footprint in the Twin Cities by more than half.

Users of the vehicle-sharing service can now pick up and drop off rental cars at most street parking spaces in Minneapolis and St. Paul. But on March 16, the company will scale back its service area in far north and far south Minneapolis and in much of St. Paul.

Car2Go spokesman Brad Ducey said it's been tough for members to find cars in high-demand locations.

"Basically what we're trying to do is make sure our service actually reflects how people are using Car2Go and making it relevant to how they're traveling," he said.

At 107 square miles, the Twin Cities have the largest Car2Go "home area" in North America, Ducey said. After the changes go into effect, the company's service area will be 50 square miles.

Car2Go has about 500 cars in circulation in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and more than 25,000 users.

For now, Ducey says the company will not shrink its vehicle fleet in the Twin Cities. The company plans to add six parking stations to the north and south of its new boundaries in Minneapolis, and is discussing a similar parking arrangement with St. Paul city officials.

"In the lower-use areas we found that vehicles sat 75 percent longer than in high-demand areas, ultimately affecting overall vehicle availability for members, as well as parking in the Twin Cities community," Ducey said.

Members use a web browser or smartphone app to find and reserve the two-seat GPS-equipped Smart Cars, made by Car2Go's parent company, the German automaker Daimler.

Car2Go started service in Ulm, Germany in 2008. Today it operates in 29 cities in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The company entered the Minneapolis market in 2013 and expanded to St. Paul the following year.

Map: Car2Go's new Twin Cities 'home area'