This is a post I’ve been thinking about writing for a while about Car2Go and parking outside the “home” area. I’ve already written a post on Car2Go in general and how it works. This post relates to places you can park Car2Go and “swipe out” outside their “home” area, namely Miami Beach and the Miami airport (plus South Miami and a list of other locations at the bottom). From doing some internet searches I found that there isn’t a ton of information (at least not easily accessible) about how these garages work. I found a few snippets here and there on Car2Go’s Facebook page and some forums. Also depending on your view on the Car2Go app sometimes it will tell you the floor to park or find the cars. I just thought the information in one place and more of step-by-step could be useful to people.
For those who want a brief overview of Car2Go and don’t want to read the other post, Car2Go is a car sharing service that use little blue and white Smart cars. It’s $35 for a lifetime membership. You use an app or online to find the nearest Car2Go to you, plus you can reserve it (it’ll be held for up to 30 minutes). You use your membership card to unlock the car, input your pin, and get the key. You drive it wherever you want. You pay by the minute ($0.41 plus tax) and that covers gas and insurance (although you do have to pay the deductible if you are at fault for a crash). Whenever you are done you can park it on any neighborhood street (including restricted neighborhood parking) or at metered parking (that are 30 minutes or more zones) in Car2Go’s “home” area (city of Miami and North Bay Village). Once you park at any of those places and swipe out you’re done paying. If you finish with whatever you’re doing and want to return you find another Car2Go close by. If you want to make a quick stop and still have the original car you park (including for free at metered spots), select “stopover,” and keep paying by the minute.
I would describe myself as a low-moderate user of Car2Go in Miami. Unfortunately Miami Beach at large is not included in Car2Go’s “home” area (where you can park for free and swipe out). So I use it less often than if I lived in the city of Miami. I do however use it for quick trips in the city of Miami, especially when trying to go downtown/Brickell for meetings, dinners, or drinks from my office in Midtown. It’s probably more mental than actual, but it just seems so much easier to park that little car downtown and not have to worry about paying for parking. The costs of a Car2Go is probably comparable to driving my own car in terms of saved gas/parking. I’m even fine that I might be paying a little bit more for the extra convenience of a Car2Go.
The garages or lots that count as Car2Go’s home area are:
Lincoln Road Garage (1691 Michigan Ave- between Lincoln Road and 17th St)
My first time using a Car2Go in Miami Beach was when I randomly decided one Sunday to walk from my place in North Beach down into South Beach (kind of like an urban hike). I really didn’t have much of a plan (especially on how I was going to get back). I meandered down Indian Creek, then Pinetree, then cut over to the Miami Beach Boardwalk, and then took it all the way down through South Beach to South Pointe Park. By then I had remembered the Car2Go garages so I walked along the bay and West Ave to the garage at 16th and Michigan (all in all just you know a leisurely 100 block walk on a Sunday).
Arriving in a Car2Go- The garage is in the same building as Lucky Strike Bowling. One of the garage entrances for cars is on Michigan just south of Lucky Strike next to the alleyway (Lincoln Lane). The other is on Jefferson just north of Dog Bar. You grab a ticket from the machine like you would in a normal car and drive up to the 6th floor (you probably will see several other Car2Gos there). When you exit you leave the ticket in the car (in the slots above the computer display or on the dash). That part is really important because a person leaving needs that ticket.
Leaving in a Car2Go- The entrance for pedestrians is just to the north of Lucky Strike and pretty easy to find. You take the elevator up to the 6th floor and you’ll see usually a lot of Car2Gos there. It’s best to reserve one ahead of time of course just in case, but every time I’ve gone there has usually been at least 8-10 Car2Gos available. When you get in make sure you can find the parking ticket and if not switch to another car. When exiting give the parking attendant your ticket and they’ll let you through for free to you. You exit onto Jefferson St.
This is a great option if you’re in Miami or North Bay Village and want to do dinner or go out on Lincoln Road and not worry about parking and your car.
Collins and 5th Garage (500 Collins Ave- car entrance is on Collins Court off 5th)
My trip to the 5th and Collins Garage I think is an example of a great way to use Car2Go, which is one way trips where you’d like to be without a car once you get there. My best friend was in town for his bachelor party and the out-of-towners had gotten a place on 5th and Ocean. Awesome location for someone visiting (although he’s originally from Miami), but probably the equivalent of the 9th circle of hell for Miamians. I’m exhausted and getting frustrated just thinking about that part of South Beach. Anyways with traffic and the costs and hassle of possibly parking overnight there was no way I was going to drive my own car. So instead I drove two miles to North Bay Village (the closest Car2Go home area to me) and parked my car there. I got a Car2Go and drove down to South Beach. I figured if I cabbed it back to my house at night I could get my car in the morning (maybe a Deco Bike ride to my car? That’d be resourceful) or if I ended up staying overnight in South Beach I could just drive another Car2Go back. But I at least saved the cost of a cab ride going to South Beach.
The plan would have gone amazingly, except traffic was insane. There was an accident on the MacArthur (and possibly the Tuttle) so South Beach was a parking lot. I got stuck on Collins forever, because 5th Ave was all blocked up. I unfortunately didn’t know exactly where at 5th and Collins the garage entrance was. If I had (it’s technically on Collins Court between 5th and 6th) I would have taken Washington, gone down 6th (which is a one way street) and gone down Collins Court, probably saving me 10-15 minutes. But unfortunately I didn’t figure that out until I was stuck on Collins with nowhere to go. Regardless a cab to 5th and Ocean would have been stuck in the same traffic so I probably still saved money.
Arriving in a Car2Go- So like I mentioned the entrance is on Collins Court (between Collins and Washington Aves) between 5th and 6th Streets. It is probably easiest to come down Washington, take a left on 6th, and then a right on Collins Court. Otherwise if you’re coming east on 5th you’ll need to do a U-turn at Collins and backtrack to Collins Court (and if traffic is bad like usual that would be a huge pain).
When I got to the gate it didn’t raise so I took a ticket. I drove up to the top floor as directed by the app (and I believe some signs in the garage itself). Luckily there was an attendant hanging out near the Car2Gos (not sure if that is always the case) and he said you don’t need to leave the ticket in the car.
Leaving in a Car2Go- The building is the same one as the colorful-neon Equinox gym. The pedestrian entrance for the garage looks to be right on the corner of 5th and Collins (sorry I forget specifically from my experience) and then you take the elevator up to the top floor. I haven’t ever left from this garage so I can’t give specifics on that, but I am guessing the parking attendant will just wave you through in a Car2Go since you don’t need to present the ticket (according to the parking attendant I talked to when I arrived).
If traffic hadn’t been that terrible this would have been an absolutely perfect way to avoid the cab fare to South Beach. Similar to the 1691 Michigan garage this is a great option to take from Miami/North Bay to South Beach to go out, to go to the beach, etc. when you don’t want to worry about parking
“Miami Airport” (NW 39th Ave and NW 38th Court)
This was a recent experience the other week. I was flying back into MIA and my ride got stuck in a meeting. I should probably have just gone to the Super Shuttle kiosk, but without a reservation it sometimes can take awhile and I was ready to get home. A cab would have made the most sense, but I wasn’t sure if I had enough cash on me and I was bitter about credit card machines being hit or miss in Miami cabs (it’s seriously 2014!).
I had seen there were Car2Gos on the map near the airport and this time specifically saw there was a little special “home” area just east of MIA with a few Car2Gos available. It also looked to be kind of close to the Metrorail/Car Rental Center. So I decided to give it a try, especially since I only had a carryon.
Leaving in a Car2Go- I took the MIA Mover from the 3rd floor outside near the E and F Terminals (just follow the signs for the Car Rental Center). It was about a five minute ride on the MIA Mover over to the Car Rental Center. When you exit the MIA Mover your options are the Car Rental Center to your left and the Metrorail to your right. I wasn’t sure what was the best way to exit to the street. I thought you might have to pay right away to get into the Metrorail area so I instead went to the Car Rental Center and took the elevator down to the 1st floor.
Unfortunately I had forgotten the exit on the 1st floor was into a maze of rental cars and a giant garage and I didn’t want to be trying to find my way out. I walked back in, but there were about 3-4 families of about 15-20 people, 10-15 luggage carts, and probably about 30-45 suitcases that had just arrived waiting for the elevator to go up. And of course the escalator up was being repaired. I don’t think I’m claustrophobic, but I think that’s the feeling I was getting at being stuck like that. Luckily I saw a door marked EXIT and went for it. It took me down some random hallways, but eventually I got out onto the access road east of the Car Rental Center.
Update: Since that trip I’ve taken the Metrorail to the airport and if you take the Metrorail way you’ll easily be able to get down to the street without paying. Far less of a hassle than trying to exit through the Rental Car Center.
However you get down to the street level (who doesn’t like a little adventure right?), you then want to go north along the access road. It might be technically 39th Ave, but I think it might also have been built just to get people in and out of the Car Rental Center. When you hit 25th St walk a little bit to the left and go straight up 39th Ave. The next block is 38th Court and you’ll see a Latin restaurant on the corner. Take a right and just past the restaurant is a mechanics on the right. There were a number of crashed and broken Car2Gos when I got there being repaired. They must have worked out a deal with their mechanic to park some cars there. Past the entrance to the mechanic yard you see a couple signs for parking Car2Gos. I found the one I had reserved and got in.
Using the Car2Go got me back to my office and my own car, although I’m not sure how quick it was relatively. It also was a quite an adventure exiting to the street from the MIA Mover. If it’s you or you’re with just one other person and your luggage is light and you’re up for an adventure Car2Go can be a pretty cheap ride from the airport (especially compared to a cab). Just be prepared for some navigating and getting a little hot depending on the weather (it was the end of June for me so it was pretty damn hot for me).
Arriving in a Car2Go- In terms of driving a Car2Go to the airport I would say it’s a little bit more iffy. There were only a few spots marked for parking a Car2Go. It looks like the “home” area extends across 38th Court on the app’s map so you might be able to find a place to park that’s qualifies as the “home” area. I’m a lot more unsure about that, which is why I am not making a recommendation about driving a Car2Go to the airport. You can change the filters on your app to see parking garages/areas (usually have to uncheck Car2Go or it will hide the parking lot behind available cars) and you can see how many free spaces there are. If you do that you’ll then want to make your way back to the Metrorail stop (3800 NW 25th St) and up to the MIA Mover.
South Miami Garage (SW 58th Ct/SW 73nd St) and other locations
Arriving/Leaving in a Car2Go- One day I was having dinner in South Miami/Pinecrest and parked in the South Miami Municipal Garage (same building as RA Sushi). I saw that there were Car2Gos there and remembered they have a garage down there. This garage is super easy. There’s no gate or ticket to enter at the entrance on SW 58th Court (just north of SW 73rd St). If you’re parking normally you can pay by phone or a machine and they’ll be doing rounds like on the street to check you paid. But for Car2Go you just drive in and park for free. Look out for Car2Go reserved spots (I wasn’t paying attention to see if they had those or not), but you might be able to just park in any of the spots.
Other locations outside the “home” area include a parking lot at Johnson and Wales University at NE 126th St and NE 17th Ave in North Miami and more recently some spots at the EVA Hotel on South Beach and at Dadeland Station down south. I haven’t ever been to these locations though so I’m not sure exactly how they are set up. It no longer looks like they have spots in Bay Harbor Islands.
Car2Go Miami- www.car2go.com/en/miami