Photo by Alex92287 via Flickr Creative Commons
One of our favorite alternatives to hotels is Airbnb, a service that lets you rent out your extra bed to weary travelers to make a little extra cash and helps the traveler save money. It's a peer-based product service system that makes the best use of available resources, and it's smart thinking. That's essentially the model behind a new car-sharing service called GetAround, which has just launched into Beta mode. If your car sits in a parking lot all day, you might have a new way to put it to work for you and help someone who needs some wheels for just a couple hours. GetAround is a basic idea -- most of our cars aren't in use during the day. We use them to drive to work, and then they just sit there until the work day is over. What if someone else could be using them when we don't need them? GetAround provides you with a keyless entry system for your car. You can then register it on their site so that someone who needs wheels nearby can find it, and rent it from you. It's sort of like a hybrid of Rentalic and ZipCar.
GetAround is insured by a Fortune 500 carrier, screen all the participants in the program, and claim that by renting your car for 15 hours a week you can earn as much as $350. That's no chump change. Of course, it also depends on how many people use the service. It'll take awhile to get going, but it might be easier for GetAround which only needs to rely on the interest of car owners in a city, than for ZipCar which has to find parking lots and provide a fleet in order for the service to be available to people. Still, there's something to be said for the trust factor -- it's still a odd concept for us to go lending an expensive vehicle to perfect strangers, screened or not. A great concept, but an odd one.
GetAround also claim that each car shared is equivalent to getting 10 cars off the road and reducing emissions by 40%. We're not sure how they made those calculations, but we have no doubt that a handful of people sharing one car during the day, rather than each person owning their own, certainly reduces emissions to some substantial degree.
We love the idea, and we're curious to see how GetAround will do as it gets rolling. It's a good spot to look if you're interested in sharing your car or seeing if there is anyone in your town willing to share theirs with you.
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