For people hesitant to lend their precious car to family or friends, the new car sharing app Getaround may not be for them. But it’s providing an alternative form of transportation for those without cars, and an additional source of revenue for those with them.
According the Seattle Times, the service functions similar to Airbnb. Instead of a fleet of cars like Zipcar and Car2Go, people with cars they’re rarely using can rent them to complete strangers using a verification system.
“It doesn’t sound like it’s for tourists,” said KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney. “It sounds like it’s for citizens who live here who don’t want to own a car.”
Founded in 2009 in San Francisco, Getaround now operates in multiple cities and currently features about 50 on-boarded cars in Seattle with more than 1,000 people signed up to rent. The way it works is this: A remote locking system accessible through the app opens the car, and users pay by the hour, sometimes as low as $5 to $7 for an older vehicle and upwards of $20 to $30 for higher-end vehicles like BMWs and Teslas.
To alleviate concerns of a weird car noise suddenly showing up, an insurance policy is included and owners are not liable for any damage accrued during the trip, like if the car is used in a heist and subsequent police chase.
Apps like Getaround and Turo offer additional source of income
That sense of security is why some are using services like Getaround to supplement their income. KIRO Reporter Mike Lewis joined Tom & Curley to discuss his experience with Turo, a similar local car rental company.
“In Turo, there are people who have built businesses based on the Turo app. They’ve bought three or four cars,” said Lewis. “I just rented a guy’s Toyota for a week. He has 30 cars ranging from old beaters to nicer cars. He’s a mechanic who built an entire business on this.”
On the less active end, many owners use public transportation to get to work while leaving their cars at home. With services like Geraround and Turo, they can now put their cars to work as well, and no longer resent them for lazily doing nothing.
As for renters, it offers a supplement to public transportation and an alternative to car rental companies.
“So just like Expedia did in travel agents,” asked KIRO Radio’s John Curley of Mike Lewis. “Do you think something like this will eventually (end) Hertz, Thrifty, and all those others?”
“I hope so,” joked Lewis.