BMW's DriveNow car sharing shutting down in SF next month

Not Enough Places To Park In The City By The Bay

BMW's DriveNow car-sharing service is suspending operations in San Francisco next month after more than three years. The culprit? Not enough parking spots in the City.

BMW debuted both DriveNow car-sharing and its ParkNow service in the City by the Bay in August 2012, initially launching with the ActiveE plug-in vehicle and later moving over to the i3. While there probably wasn't a shortage of folks looking to drive those cars, it was the ending part of that equation that proved problematic. That's because San Francisco hasn't been able to clear out enough street-parking spots to make the program work properly, despite adding 80 spaces for the 150 cars in the program back in 2014.

"We hope to return to San Francisco in the future and will continue to engage with the City on possible solutions that will allow you to experience the full benefits of our one-way car sharing service," said DriveNow CEO Richard Sternberg on the company's website. "In the meantime, we are focusing our efforts on new cities where our transportation solution can flourish. We would like to thank you for your loyal support and embracing flexible car sharing as an alternative transportation method."

As far as that expansion to other US cities, BMW hasn't been specific. Bimmer also runs the DriveNow program in three Germany cities as well as Copenhagen, Vienna and London. So, DriveNow apparently has an easier time finding parking spots in London than in San Francisco. Why BMW couldn't use a flexible parking system for its one-way rentals like the similar Car2go program uses remains a mystery.

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