Archive for » February 12th, 2012«

CAR2GO: DRIVE IT LIKE YOU SHARE IT – U

Test subject: The Car2go San Diego car-sharing service

The large picture: In November, San Diego became a second North American opening for Car2go, a car-sharing association that allows we to lease small, fuel-efficient Smart cars by a hour. Is it probable to get a preference of automobile transport though a hassles of automobile ownership? Even when that automobile creates we hee-haw each time we demeanour during it? we took a few Car2go cars for a spin to find out.

Car2go 101: The scarcely 30-square-mile Car2go use area stretches from a East Village out to Mission Bay. (See
car2go.com for a full map.) Registered members can collect adult cars anywhere within that area, use them as prolonged as they like, afterwards leave them in roughly any open parking mark within that area. You can expostulate outward a use zone, though we can’t leave a automobile there.

The let rates, that embody word and recharging during authorized EV charging stations, are 35 cents a minute, with a limit of $12.99 per hour. A full day goes for $65.99, not including tax. It is not indispensably cheaper than a let car, though we have a coherence of renting it for usually as prolonged as we need it. Not to discuss a vulgar fun of dropping it off flattering most anywhere. Whee!

Sadly, there is no back-seat pushing in a Car2go car, since there is no behind seat.

Baby, we can (eventually) expostulate this car: It might demeanour some-more like an appendage than a engine automobile (Shoe with wheels? Handbag with radio?), though a Car2go is not an incentive purchase.

Whether we register online or during Car2go’s downtown San Diego office, your membership label will arrive by mail in about 5 business days. There is a one-time sign-up price of $35, though registration is giveaway by Mar 11. After that, demeanour for bonus codes online.

And don’t immediately embankment a groundless small poster that comes with your card. All of a handling info we need is right there.

“Drive,” we said: You can haven Car2go cars adult to 24 hours in advance, or we can check a website for a nearest accessible automobile and determine to use it within 15 minutes. we attempted both methods. A few mins after creation a reservations, we perceived a content confirming a plcae and giving me a cars’ license-plate numbers. Both cars were in their allocated places during their allocated times, even if we managed to get mislaid on my approach to one of them. (My bad!)

You clear a automobile by holding your membership label adult to a label reader on a windshield, that feels really “Mission Impossible.” Once we have entered your PIN series on a hold shade and answered a few housekeeping questions, you’re off. At a finish of my drives, we left a cars in authorised parking spots, checked out electronically and went on my way. The fees went on my credit card.

Is this thing on? San Diego and Amsterdam are a usually dual Car2go cities with an all electric-car fleet, that is good for a sourroundings though a small unsettling for newbie drivers. Like a Autopia cars during Disneyland, a Car2go acceleration is not quite speedy, even if we feel like you’re flooring it. Plenty of people take these mild-mannered electric chariots on a freeway, though we was not about to be one of them.


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4-year-old killed when highway fury ends in automobile accident

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SACRAMENTO – CHP continues to examine a automobile collision that occurred as a outcome of a road fury occurrence on I-5 that killed a 4-year-old boy.

A 1999 Honda Accord and a black collect adult form vehicle, that was following behind a Honda, were apparently intent in some form of highway rage, creation vulnerable line changes, following too close, and speeding.

As a Honda was roving in a #2 line only north of Garden Highway, a motorist abruptly directed to a right in try to exit a freeway.

This transformation caused him to remove control of his car and transport opposite a gore indicate of a Garden Highway off-ramp and continue down an dike where it trafficked by a sequence couple blockade and overturned. The Honda came to rest on a wheels in a grassy area west of a fence.

The adult occupants’ 4 year aged son, who was not scrupulously cumulative in a child patience seat, was ejected and postulated deadly injuries.

The right front passenger, Melinda Phouglonghong, a 23 year aged from Sacramento was ecstatic to UCD Medical Center with teenager cuts and abrasions.

The driver, 26 year aged Joe Chanthavong from Sacramento, was also ecstatic to UCD Medical Hospital with a contusion to his conduct and teenager cuts and abrasions.

Chanthavong is unlawful and it is different if drug use is a contributing cause tentative a toxicology report. This collision is still underneath review and charges are pending.

Witnesses reported a car concerned in a purported highway fury before to this collision as a black Chevy pickup identical to an Avalanche displaying California permit plates. If we have any information on a vehicle, a occupants, or this collision, greatfully hit a North Sacramento CHP bureau during (916) 338-6710 or CHP Communications Center during (916) 861-1300.

North Sacramento Area CHP

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How to transport between Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver, BC

Plane, trains and automobiles. Plus ferries and floatplanes, buses and bikes.

Such are a choices for roving between a Pacific Northwest’s triangle of world-class cities — Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver, B.C.

Here’s how to get between them, for a one-city getaway or a turn trip.

SEATTLE TO

VICTORIA, B.C.

By air: If we had a money, a floatplane is a approach I’d always float around Western Washington and a British Columbia coast.

Seattle-based Kenmore Air has a swift of floatplanes — many carrying 6 to 10 passengers — charity visit flights from Seattle’s Lake Union (and Kenmore on Lake Washington) to coastal cities, resorts and islands in Washington and British Columbia, including Victoria.

My moody to Victoria, a Canadian citadel of British traditions and royalists (and named after a 19th-century Queen Victoria), took about an hour. we snagged a chair subsequent to a commander and gay in examination a tapestry of cityscapes and mountains, waterways and forest.

Thanks to an Internet special, my one-way Seattle-Victoria moody cost about $100 (versus a customary float of roughly $150 any way). That wasn’t bad compared to a time and cost of car/ferry transport, that can simply take some-more than a half-day. Better yet, a floatplane lands in downtown Victoria’s Inner Harbour, an easy travel to vital hotels and traveller sights, including a Parliament Buildings and Empress Hotel.

The topping on a cake: Kenmore Air passengers transparent Canadian customs/immigration (and U.S. limit formalities on lapse to Seattle) during a wharf with only a handful of other passengers from a plane. No airport-security lines, no physique scanners, no hassles.

Info: www.kenmoreair.com (for Internet specials, corkscrew down on a left side for a link).

By sea: we returned to Seattle on a Victoria Clipper, a high-speed passenger-only packet that has daily roundtrips between Seattle and Victoria. It’s a excellent approach to go given Victoria is a compact, walkable city and sightseers don’t need a car.

After a insinuate scale and speed of a floatplane, a Clipper — a ships reason from 239 to 330 passengers and a outing takes about 3 hours any approach — was a bit of a contrast. However, a Clipper is almost cheaper than a floatplane and has poetic views of a Olympic Mountains and shorelines. Rates change widely depending on a time of year, discounts and Web specials. The customary adult float in Feb is around $75 one way, $120 turn trip. The Clipper also offers ferry/hotel packages, that can be good deals. www.clippervacations.com. (The Victoria Express, a passenger-only packet between Washington’s Port Angeles and Victoria, has left out of business.)

Need a car? Sail divided with Washington State Ferries from Anacortes (1.5 hours north of Seattle) to Sidney, B.C. (about a 20-minute expostulate from Victoria). The packet takes a winter break; it resumes on Mar 25. www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries. The float takes dual to 3 hours, depending on a track by a San Juan Islands (plus time for clearing customs/immigration).

Or take a Black Ball Ferry Line’s MV Coho packet from Port Angeles to Victoria’s Inner Harbour. It’s a 90-minute crossing. www.cohoferry.com.

Vehicle reservations can be done on both ferries (and are strongly endorsed on a Anacortes-Sidney route).

SEATTLE TO

VANCOUVER, B.C.

By wheels: Once on a time, there was floatplane use between Seattle’s Lake Union and Vancouver. Alas, it went swell adult many years ago, withdrawal highway or rail a categorical ways to go.

My favorite: a Amtrak Cascades train with dual daily turn trips between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. It’s a gentle and scenic ride, with most of a track hugging a shoreline. Read, use your laptop (there’s simple Wi-Fi) or only gawk out a large windows. (Hint: Sit on a left side of a sight northbound and a right southbound for a best views.)

The sight is distant from high-speed, however. Convoluted and undiluted tracks, generally in B.C., make a one-way outing take about 4 hours (versus 3 hours driving).

Info: www.amtrakcascades.com.

Otherwise, expostulate to Vancouver. It’s a true shot adult Interstate 5 to a Canada-U.S. limit during Blaine, Whatcom County, and afterwards leading to Vancouver on Highway 99. The expostulate takes about 3 hours, nonetheless border-crossing overload on weekends, generally in summer, can widen a outing by an hour or more, generally returning to a U.S.

Info on roads, limit crossings (and wait times): Washington State Department of Transportation, www.wsdot.wa.gov and www.wsdot.com/traffic/border.

Want someone else to drive? Greyhound buses have daily trips between Seattle and Vancouver, www.greyhound.com. Quick Shuttle buses offer a airports and downtowns of both cities year-round, and a journey boat docks in Vancouver in summer. www.quickcoach.com

By air: There are flights from Sea-Tac Airport to Vancouver’s airport, though given a hours indispensable for check-in/security/customs, it’s not always a time- or cost-effective approach to go.

VANCOUVER TO VICTORIA

The Strait of Georgia separates Vancouver and Victoria; you’ll need to cruise or fly opposite it.

By sea: BC Ferries has visit sailings — it’s about a 1 ½-hour packet float — each day from Tsawwassen on a mainland (south of Vancouver and about a half-hour expostulate from a U.S.-Canada border) to Swartz Bay (about a half-hour from Victoria). www.bcferries.com.

Car-less travelers can travel aboard, take bikes or a Pacific Coach Line buses that go aboard a ferries and afterwards lift passengers into downtown Vancouver and Victoria (www.pacificcoach.com).

For something totally different, a Prince of Whales offers summer four-hour whale-watching trips/transport from Vancouver to Victoria on a barebones passenger-only vessel: www.princeofwhales.com.

By air: Floatplanes hum between Vancouver (B.C.’s blurb powerhouse) and Victoria (its legislative capital). Both Harbour Air Seaplanes (www.harbourair.com) and West Coast Air (www.westcoastair.com) offer dozens of flights daily between a cities’ downtown harbors.

You could take required flights between a Vancouver and Victoria airports but, as in drifting from Seattle, it’s not unequivocally time- or cost-effective for a brief vacation.

For fast-paced and cost style, take a helicopter (fares can tip $300 one approach though it takes only 35 minutes). Helijet offers some-more than a dozen flights a day from downtown alighting pads in both cities. www.helijet.com

Kristin Jackson: kjackson@seattletimes.com


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Car Dealers Wince during a Site to End Sales Haggling

At slightest consumers no longer have to enter a routine blind. Prospective buyers can teach themselves on Web sites like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book and get suggested sell prices and find out how many their trade-ins are unequivocally worth.

Still, a automobile courtesy has not embraced a digital age in a approach other businesses, like genuine estate or travel, have. In part, that is since a automobile dealers’ business practices are stable by state authorization laws.

But then, a association called TrueCar.com came onto a stage and attempted to shake things up. It started running radio commercials late final year, that captivated a lot of attention, and a courtesy immediately pushed behind — hard. Here’s why: Besides display what other automobile buyers paid for a sold car, TrueCar also gave an guess of a dealer’s loyal cost. But what unequivocally dumbfounded a courtesy was TrueCar’s guarantee to broach a guaranteed cost from several dealers, radically expelling a need for any haggling.

The automobile courtesy worried, maybe rightly, that all this would fist their already skinny distinction margins on new cars. So, after several dealers’ associations complained that TrueCar was violating several laws, regulators from several states told TrueCar that they questioned a site’s business practices. Honda Motor Company also protested loudly, melancholy to cut off selling dollars to dealers that did not follow a discipline when compelling a brands on TrueCar’s site.

“There is a fear that TrueCar competence work too well,” pronounced Scott Painter, a company’s arch executive, a sequence businessman who also started many other auto-related sites, including CarsDirect.com.

So how prolonged can a automobile courtesy continue to work a approach it did when your grandfather walked into a showroom? And does TrueCar unequivocally yield a best indication for consumers who wish a satisfactory cost but a hassle?

Clearly, during slightest some dealers fear that display their palm will expostulate them out of business. “Dealers are fearful if they give business their best price, they will only take that cost and go to another dealership and see if they can kick it,” pronounced Jeremy Anwyl, clamp authority during Edmunds, an automobile investigate Web site.

And even Mr. Painter concurred that yet many of a dealers that his site works with have managed to reason their distinction margins steady, dealers in some markets became so impossibly rival that their business would not be tolerable over a prolonged run. “We have always pronounced it is not a competition to a bottom,” Mr. Painter said, adding that for his use to succeed, dealers need to succeed. “But there is no doubt that dealers’ healthy bent to contest with one another has resulted in intensely low prices.”

To approve with regulators and their patchwork of opposite state laws, TrueCar primarily stopped handling in a handful of states while it tweaked a business. It has resumed handling in those states solely for Colorado and Louisiana (it doesn’t work in Alaska).

Now, a guaranteed prices will be delivered directly from a dealers instead of appearing on TrueCar’s Web site. And depending on where we live, a pricing promises might be called an “upfront price,” that is a guaranteed cost that a play is peaceful to sell at. Or in places where upfront pricing is not authorised — since of a probability it could lead to a bait-and-switch conditions — consumers will accept a guarantee of “guaranteed savings,” contend $2,000 off a manufacturer’s suggested sell price.  Those changes will be introduced over a subsequent few months, Mr. Painter said, yet they are still a work in progress.

Besides watering down a approach it presents some of a pricing, a association was also forced to change a approach it charged dealers for a sales leads it provided. In many cases, it will continue to assign dealers a price — $299 for new cars, $399 for used — if TrueCar’s introduction to a consumer leads to a sale. But in places where it is bootleg to accept a price for a sale, dealers will compensate around a subscription. The association also incited off a commercials — that promoted a haggle-free, guaranteed pricing — while it creates new ads that concentration on things like play vicinity and service. “The realities of a authorization complement and a insurance it has during a state turn means we have to work with a dealers,” Mr. Anwyl said. “You can’t work around them.”


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