November 18th, 2013
The latest trend in automobiles among millennials is carsharing or ridesharing, where regular drivers offer rides at little or no cost. As a way to save money and gas, carsharing has quickly gained momentum in the last few years. According to a study from Berkeley, there are over 1 million people who are a part of the ridesharing community. Here is a quick explanation of a few of the most popular carsharing companies:
If you've ever seen cars with a fuzzy, pink mustache, you've spotted a Lyft car. Lyft, a ridesharing company originating from San Francisco, is a cheap way to get a ride. However, unlike a professional cab, Lyft drivers are regular car owners rather than licensed taxi drivers. At the end of the trip, riders are suggested to make a donation to the driver, however this is not mandatory.
As a smartphone app, a Lyft user simply signs up by with a Facebook and bank account, and uses the features to request a ride. The donation and the logistics are all done through the app. For those without a car, Lyft can be an inexpensive alternative way to get from place to place.
While most rental companies don't allow anyone under 25 to use a car, Getaround is available to those who are 19 and older. Regular drivers rent their cars to others. For drivers who participate in the Getaround program, there is a $1 million auto insurance policy that is included. Renters are also fully insured with 24/7 roadside assistance. It's inexpensive and accessibility has made Getaround a popular company among young people.
If you don't own a car but find yourself needing one from time to time, Zipcar is a great option for city-dwellers. As a rental service that allows for rental time slots starting at one hour, short-term use of a car is now possible. Here's how it works: A person first becomes a member with Zipcar and, after being approved, can reserve a zipcar for a specific block of time. The cars are mostly meant to be driven around the city they are located in, with a 180-mile limit per 24-hour segment rental period.
After signing up, a Zipcar member is given a key card by mail that can unlock and open the cars. One of the many positive aspects of Zipcar is that the cost of rental also includes gas and there is always a designated parking spot ready and waiting for the car. In addition, Zipcar pays for comprehensive coverage auto insurance, leaving very little cost to the renter.
Of course, carsharing can come with its downsides, namely resulting from other people who use the same vehicle. You could find the car empty of gas when you arrive to pick up your car. The car could also be dirty, or even not there if the person who rented before you is late on their return. Zipcars also must be returned to the same place where they were picked up, an inconvenience to some.