Archive for the ‘wall street journal’ Category

Chicago’s I-GO Car Sharing reviewed in Wall Street Journal

June 11, 2009

The Wall Street Journal‘s “Cranky Consumer” columnist reviewed four car sharing companies in today’s paper. The column is a Consumer Reports-type deal that makes apples-to-apples comparisons, hopefully enabling consumers to make better choices. I-GO Car Sharing was the only local, nonprofit service included; the others are Zipcar, Connect by Hertz (the rental car company recently launched a car-sharing service in select markets), and Mint, a recent start-up based in New York.

We’re happy to report that, with the exception of a half-eaten French fry left on the floor by the member who had our car before the reporter’s reservation, I-GO came out smelling more or less like roses.

The Zipcar was “filthy,” apparently, and while we’re inclined to gloat, it must be said that all car-sharing companies can commiserate with that. We all have cleaning services. I-GO’s cleaning service is the ultra-green-friendly WashMe-EnviGreen, a Matteson-based progressive service run by dynamic entrepreneur Tanya Killian. Every car in our fleet is cleaned like clock-work, inside and out, at least every two weeks. But in a national culture that’s so used to service-oriented business models that don’t necessitate customer responsibility, it’s easy to point a finger at us—or the other companies reviewed in this piece—and not realize that a communal business model is at work here.

We’ve got 12,000 members. And we love ’em all. We just launched a new mobile reservations site that’s the latest, greatest member benefit at I-GO. But we need members to alert us to dirty cars, too, so that we can pinpoint recurring problems and address the situation with members whose trash is the next person’s annoyance. It’s not like we want our members to be ratting each other out, but, well, that’s sort of the nature of the beast when you’ve got 12,000 people sharing 200 vehicles. We do our best to keep up with the cleaning, but we absolutely need to function as a community that works together for the betterment of the whole.

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