The first car-sharing program originated in Europe in the 1970’s, but only lasted about two years. It wasn’t until the introduction of Zipcar in 2000 that car-sharing programs began to take off. Emerging technology has fueled the ridesharing revolution, helping to make companies like Zipcar effective through advances in both software and hardware. Users can reserve a car from home or from their phones and simply walk up, swipe a card and drive it away. In the case of car service alternatives like Uber and Lyft, the ability for drivers to find passengers based on GPS information made it easy to track down a ride to your next destination.
Considering how ubiquitous they are today, it is hard to believe that Zipcar and Uber didn’t exist five years ago. But they aren’t the only players with skin in the game. Thanks to millions in venture capital funding, there are new ridesharing companies cropping up all the time. Although many services are not available nationwide, or in some cases even outside of the tech-fueled state of California, they all claim to be the future of transportation. If you can’t handle all the ridesharing choices, you can always just buy a car. We can help.
- Relay Rides
- Just Share It
- Hertz on Demand
- Rideshare by Enterprise
Zipcar posesses a network of over 10,000 vehicles ranging from compact sedans to moving vans. For a monthly membership fee users can rent a car for as little as 1 hour. Cars are left with the keys in them at convenient locations around cities throughout the US. Users simply make a reservation online, walk up to a vehicle and drive away. Gas and insurance are included.
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Sidecar allows normal people to use their own cars as taxis. Using an app, users can request a ride, and choose their driver and vehicle based on driver reviews, vehicle specs, etc. Drivers can set their own rates, meaning competition between drivers usually drives the rates down.
Uber is an app that connects you with the closest driver in your area. Put in your credit card information, see rates before the ride, and you can see your car as it approaches. It allows you to request certain rides, luxury, economy, SUV, etc., based on your needs. It also allows you to contact regular hail taxis, for those times when one never seems to be around.
Lyft offers a service where drivers can use their own vehicles fitted with a fluffy pink moustache to pick up customers. With over 60,000 drivers in 65 cities, there are more then enough cars to get you where you need to be.
Relay Rides is a peer-to-peer car-sharing network. Owners of vehicles can post their cars online for other people to rent out for the day, week, or month. Owners of the vehicle are allowed to choose their rates, and Relay Rides provides insurance to cover the rental drivers.
Wingz is a peer-to-peer service that provides rides to and from the airport for flat fees, regardless of traffic. The service is currently available in LA and San Francisco, but plans to expand to new markets.
Getaround is a peer-to-peer car rental service where owners can offer their cars for rent. Vehicles are covered with full insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance. The company offers drivers up to $10,000 a year to “put their idle car to work.” Some drivers choose to hand off keys in person, but Getaround also offers a service called Getaround Connect that enables renters to get mobile access to vehicles.
JustShareIt is very similar to Getaround. It is also a P2P rental service where owners can offer their cars to the general public. Owners can list cars for free, and approve requested bookings in real time through the JustShareIt app. Renters can use the app to see what vehicles are available in their area.
Hertz 24/7 is the century-old rental car company’s response to the ridesharing revolution. Similarly to ZipCar, Hertz 24/7 offers self-service cars that are conveniently located near residential neighborhoods, airports and office parks. Other similar features include the ability to rent by the hour, day, or week, and the fact that gas and insurance are included. The Hertz service also offers 1-way rentals.
Rideshare by Enterprise wants you to start “vanpooling.” The idea is that you partner up with 5-6 co-workers who live nearby and have similar schedules. Then you all share a van to and from work every day. The company claims that “vanpooling” can cut your commuting costs by 50-75 percent.
Written by Sam Jackson