There’s nothing quite so miserable as having to run errands on a rainy day. It’s doubly as miserable if you need to do them in further-off areas of Brooklyn without a car. And the misery could compound if you get caught in one of the MTA’s increasing number of delays.
So this past rainy Tuesday seemed like a good day to give a new car-sharing service a shot. Called ReachNow, they just launched in Brooklyn this past fall after being exclusively in Seattle and Portland and have recently expanded into Bay Ridge, Midwood, Flatbush, and Ditmas Park. The service is owned by BMW and has a fleet of BMWs and MINIs available for rental by the minute, hour, or day.
ReachNow operates entirely through a smartphone app. (You can also use a card to lock and unlock your vehicle—while the card isn’t necessary, it’s probably good to have in case your phone dies or you’re somewhere with bad reception.) So the first step is downloading the app and registering, which is super easy. You just need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid U.S. driver’s license with an acceptable driving record (no major violations) and at least two years of driving experience.
Once you register and enable location services, just start looking for a car in the area.
As you click around, the app shows you the type of car as well as how full the gas tank is (in percentage) and how far that amount of gas will take you.
Once you find a car you like, click Reserve and you have 30 minutes to get to it at no charge. This is the fun little MINI Clubman I grabbed:
When you’re near the car, the app allows you to unlock it. Once inside, you manage the reservation on the car’s display screen.
My first stop was the Lowes on 2nd Ave. in Gowanus to pick up some expandable window screens and a tub drain.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have the drain I needed so I figured I’d pop over to Home Depot to see what options they had. Easy enough with a car. Success!
Honestly, I could have probably gone to the Lowes on Avenue U (much easier by car as well) but that one isn’t anywhere near my old neighborhood of Carroll Gardens and Mazzola’s Bakery, which I promptly zipped over to so I could grab a loaf of their semolina and lard bread. I still dream about them years after leaving the area. Can you tell?
I could have fit a lot more in the car if I needed to as well as brought a friend.
I was able to get done what I needed to do quickly and painlessly. Plus, because of their current weekday promotion, the bill was only $25 for up to 3 hours. That’s a lot less than a car service or paying to have items delivered.
Not only that, but trips can be one-way. At the end of your trip, you just need to park the car in the Home Area, which is pretty much all of Western Brooklyn at this point:
And maybe you didn’t notice, but the car I drove has not one but TWO sunroofs! Despite the recent weather, summer IS coming and day trips beckon. So whether you need to pick up something at IKEA or long for a jaunt to the beach, the next time you find yourself thinking “I’d really love to be able to just drive,” give ReachNow a try.