(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
As of this week, a new car-share service is available in Baltimore.
Maven, which is owned by General Motors, is rolling out about 40 cars around the city that are available for hourly or daily rental.
The Maven cars are reserved and unlocked via app, and can be picked up at spots where they’re parked around the city. The service is starting at 20 locations like downtown, Federal Hill, Mt. Vernon, Fells Point and around Johns Hopkins. Maven East Coast Manager Scott Hall said the GM backing gives the service is the ability to order more cars and scale up as needed.
The service moved into 17 cities since launching last year. Hall said the service is looking to tap into markets where parking is more limited and people are moving away from car ownership.
“It’s a logical extension for us to come into the Baltimore market,” he said.
The cars being offered are a mix of the smaller Cruze models and the more luxurious Tahoe SUV. Maven is also touting the tech onboard, as Hall pointed out that the cars have OnStar access in case there’s a need for service or navigation needs, as well as WiFi, satellite radio and phone hookups.
Mobility is an increasingly crowded space, and Maven’s service most immediately draws comparisons to Zipcar. Along with the GM backing, Hall said one difference is that Maven doesn’t have a membership fee. With Maven’s service, the cars have to be brought back to the same location where they were picked up. Zipcar has at least one instance of one-way service between Baltimore and D.C.
A Zipcar spokeswoman said new players in the market validates that “the future of mobility is paying for the trip, not the car.”
Maven’s car rental partnership with Lyft also started service in the city last summer.