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June 30, 2020

Sharing the Love: New Concepts in Carsharing

by Korrea Johnston

Here at goDCgo, we love the freedom that Zipcar, car2go and Enterprise Carshare offer District residents who choose to live car-free. Today, some companies are looking to add to that list by putting an interesting spin on traditional carsharing with  “peer to peer” or “neighborhood” programs. The idea is simple: allow individual car owners to rent out their vehicles when they’re not in use to non-car owners.

Benefiting both owner and renter, “neighborhood” carsharing has taken off across the US and is causing a positive shift from personal to shared transport. Car owners are able to offset the cost of ownership and maintenance—potentially earning up to $10,000 a year depending on the type of car and number of rental hours, while renters gain access to lower rates and more conveniently located vehicles.

As an added bonus, every shared car replaces approximately 14 cars on the road, leading to less road congestion and pollution.

Here in Washington, DC, a few companies provide “neighborhood” carsharing services. As a standard, participants are carefully screened and provided with legal policies concerning gas, usage and insurance, as well as a car-unlocking device for easy access (driver) and management (owner).  If you’re interested in trying out peer-to-peer carshare, these are two of our favorite programs in the area:

TuroClaiming the title of the “world’s first neighbor-to-neighbor car sharing service,” Turo (formery RelayRides) states that their mission is to “promote a more efficient use of neighborhood resources.” Their Washington, DC operation provides an alternative for tourists looking to explore the metro area and get to-and-from airports.

Getaround. A West Coast company created by a self-proclaimed team of “successful entrepreneurs, hackers, and business people passionate about sustainable transportation solutions,”  Getaround has also been gaining momentum in the DC metro area.  Each day, they empower people to travel more efficiently with car rentals from $5/hr.

According to a recent report by the Transportation Research Board, “neighborhood” carsharing is “widespread,  appeals to all incomes and is only slightly favored by men over women.” Lack of trust was identified as the biggest obstacle for would-be carshare members who explained they would be nervous about having someone else drive their car.  

Tell us what you think of this new concept. Would you be willing to rent out your car?

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