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BMW's ReachNow car share begins in Portland

The service will allow users to rent a variety of BMW models by the minute.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A BMW-backed venture called ReachNow is launching a car sharing service in Portland.

The soft launch began Tuesday. The official start is set for September 19.

The service will allow users to rent a variety of BMW models by the minute.

Alan Bates is ReachNow’s General Manager for the area and says the company sees “tremendous upside in Portland.”

Zipcar and car2go are two of the best known car sharing services in Portland. Car2go is the biggest with 45,000 members and 465 vehicles around the city.

The BMW service is relatively simple. You download the app on your smartphone, scan your credit card and begin using the ReachNow system.

The program will show you available cars near you. You use a personalized four digit pin code to get in the car and take it away.

Reach now has a promotional fee of 41 cents a minute while you are driving, and 30 cents a minute if you park but want to keep using the car. The fee covers the cost of gas, insurance and parking.

Many people on the streets of Portland liked the idea.

“It makes it easy to get around and just simple,” said Sean Garfield, who has used other car share companies.

Stacy Hawthorne has not.

"I like the idea, I’m just, grew up relying on a car and don’t know how comfortable I feel not having my own car,” she said.

ReachNow drivers will be able to use any parking spot that is free or any meter that allows parking for an hour or more.

The company expects to have 400 vehicles on the streets of Portland by November. That worries some people who say it’s already too hard to park in the city.

But for now, the idea of renting a BMW by the minute is attractive to many.

“I’m pretty impressed. That's pretty cool. I mean seems like a nice car to be renting,” said Brooke Borce.

For more information on the program, visit their website.