When ReachNow launched its self-described “premium free floating carshare service” back in April, several Seattle neighborhoods were notably missing from the initial coverage home area of coverage.
Though members could reserve cars for up to 96 hours, and take them just about anywhere in that span, trips had to both start and end in an area that stretched from North 105th Street and Northgate Way to South Lander Street, and from 15th Avenue West to Lake Washington. That meant Magnolia and West Seattle residents, among others, were basically left out as the company tried to establish itself as a legitimate alternative to the likes of Car2Go and ZipCar.
Last week, the Seattle-based company announced its first expansion, extending the home area boundaries to South Orcas Street in Southeast Seattle, and Southwest Alaska Street in West Seattle, while adding all of Magnolia to the fold as well.
ReachNow CEO Steve Banfield said expansion was always in the company’s plans, but the timing had to be right, noting “cars don’t just show up magically,” and the rollout of additional service takes time.
“As we looked at the demand, look at the opportunity, it just made a lot of sense for us to go ahead and take the time to expand now,” said Banfield, who joined the company in May.
To that end, in line with the wider home area, ReachNow has also added 150 MINI Clubman vehicles to its fleet — which also includes the BMW 3 Series, electric BMW i3s, and two and for door MINI Hardtops — increasing the number of available cars on city streets to 520.
Before the expansion, Banfield said, Magnolia had been basically cut off with the western boundary of 15th Avenue West.
“All of Magnolia was left in this no man’s land,” he said. “We really thought that adding Magnolia, giving people the chance to take a car home, to take a car into that neighborhood, which is such a vibrant and important part of the city, was really going to be something that we wanted to do.”
In its first month, more than 13,000 people registered for membership, though Banfield would not reveal further numbers since that announcement.
“We’re excited by the growth,” Banfield said. “It’s far exceeding any of our expectations.”
For some, he said, there may have been hesitancy to sign up because of the initial home area.
“I heard that there were some people that were holding off on signing up until we were going to be in there area, or neighborhood,” he said.
Lifetime registration for the service is $39, while vehicles are charged 49 cents per minute while being used and $0.39 per minute parked. However, the program is still offering free registration and a discounted rate of 41 cents per minute for vehicle use as a promotional rate. The price is capped at $50 for three hours, $80 for 12, and $110 for a full day.
Banfield said more expansion is on the way, and emphasized ReachNow’s status as a “hometown company,” with its North American headquarters in Belltown.
“Seattle’s not just a town for us,” he said. “It’s our home.”
For more information on ReachNow, visit www.reachnow.com.