With more of us working from home, our cars have become convenient tools to courier us around town. How many of you use your car more than once or twice a week? Or do we feel that we need a car, just because it’s a status symbol over a cost-cutting exercise.
Here at Short Motivation, we’ve found parking in a city to be problematic, especially after 7pm. With this in mind, we went through a stage where we gave up car ownership for one of these streetcar hire schemes you pay a membership scheme (although with monthly fees, these can get expensive) and pickup on demand.
Problem is, these schemes have their downsides, too. Although the streetcars have designated parking, we found people would park in the space overnight knowing it wasn’t illegal. Many of the streetcars weren’t anything special, meaning you wouldn’t want to drive them too far. Some didn’t even have aircon.
Now BMW has launched its own version of the street car hire scheme, ReachNow, but with a twist. You can sign up with the iOS and Android app for only $15. There are no further membership fees and you simply pay for the time you hire the car, which is 45₵/minute or $15/hour. You can hire a car for the day for $80 and up to 5 days, meaning you could simply pickup a car off the street and head away for the weekend.
The twist is, the Ride function competes with Uber and Lyft. Drivers can sign up to use the same streetcars to offer lifts to other users. BMW is attempting to add clarity to the booking process by eliminating Uber’s annoying surge pricing. As long as a drive is available, you pay a fixed price. The base price starts at $3.24 and you then pay $0.40/minute and each mile costs $2.40.
The Ride function enables you to schedule a lift 7 days in advance. You can also see a rough price of the booking with the fare estimator. It’s worth noting, scheduled booking or otherwise, ReachNow is unable to pickup from Sea-Tac airport, although you can pre-book a trip to the airport. You can only Ride between 6am and midnight, although at weekends this is extended to 2am.
To make your journey more comfortable, you can use the app to set Quiet Time (so the driver won’t disturb you), the temperature setting and even the radio station.
The best part about ReachNow, as it’s brought to you by BMW, then you have access to some of the best cars, including an X1 or 3-series.
ReachNow Drive (self-hire) and Ride (book a lift) are available in Seattle, with more limited Drive options in Portland and Brooklyn, New York, although more cities are expected in the near future.