There has been lots of buzz surrounding the possibility of Car2go expanding into St. Paul, and today we might know if that will happen.
The St. Paul City Council at its 5:30 p.m. meeting is expected to vote on an agreement that would allow the car sharing program to begin service July 1. A public hearing will precede any vote.
Under the terms, Car2go would park a minimum of 185 vehicles within the city, and with approval up that number to 285 within six to 12 months. The agreement, if approved, would run through Dec. 31, 2015.
Car2go would pay the city $975 per vehicle for parking privileges at city meters and residential locations restricted by permits. Vehicles that are parked on city streets must comply with other ordinances and regulations, including no parking in loading zones, in "No Parking" zones, streets with rush hour restrictions, hooded parking meters, Snow Emergency routes when in effect and spaces reserved for motorists with disabilities.
The possibility of offering service across the river from Minneapolis comes a day after Car2go gave an update of its service to Minneapolis City Council members. In a presentation Tuesday, Car2go said membership in the city has reached 8,224. It started service on Sept. 12, 2013.
Car2go, with about 350 vehicles in use in Minneapolis, averages 3,150 rentals a week, or about double what it was at the beginning of the year, officials said. Each car in the fleet is used an average of 1.25 times a day and the average trip taken is 3.5 miles. How long are vehicles in use? The average trip time is 21:20, the company said.
Car2Go's model uses a smartphone app to locate nearby cars, which can be picked up and dropped off at nearly any legal parking spot in the coverage area. Users pay a one-time $35 fee to join and about $.46 per minute while driving, but not for parking.
Meanwhile, Zipcar announced Wednesday that it has added a car at St. Paul's Union Depot to go with two other cars available elsewhere in the city. Over in Minneapolis, Zipcar is marking its one-year anniversary with a move to new headquarters on Marquette Avenue, right next to the Metro Transit shop between 7th and 8th Streets.
And last week the Drive reported what Hourcar has been up to. It's recently added a bunch of vehicles in northeast Minneapolis, along Lake Street and near the Green Line.
Both Zipcar and Hourcar are supposed to report their second quarter useage to the Minneapolis City Council later this summer.