Person-to-Person Car Sharing with RelayRides
On Saturday we tried out a Boston-based car-sharing service called RelayRides. It’s much like Zipcar, except that all the cars are owned by regular people. When they’re not using them, they rent them out.
Jason and I are thinking of enrolling our car, since we rarely use it on weekends, but we wanted to try out the system from the other side first.
Like with Zipcar, a membership card locks and unlocks the door, but only during your scheduled time. An electronic device near the rearview mirror shows how long you have the car for and allows you to extend or shorten your reservation. It also houses the gas card. Gas is the owner’s responsibility (figured into the cost of the rental), but drivers are supposed to make sure they return it at least ¼ full.
When I signed up, I got a $25 credit on my account, to encourage me to use it. It’s such a new service that they’re also waiving any introductory fees, so it’s cost us nothing. If you’ve ever thought of using Zipcar, it’s worth trying out.
The whole thing’s remarkably easy, but there were a few hangups. The door unlocking mechanism was a little touchy; I had to hold the card against it longer than I thought necessary before it registered. And we did have a little bit of trouble finding the car. Unlike Zipcar, the only RelayRides sign around the car is in the bottom corner of the windshield, and the website showed a silver Honda Accord, when the car was blue. That wouldn’t have been so confusing, except a silver Honda Accord was actually parked nearby. Luckily, the owner of the car came out while I was calling the company and pointed out the correct car.
Despite that, though, the whole thing was so positive that it even convinced Jason that we should sign up, and he’s not always up for my cockamamie schemes. Once our car’s enrolled, I’ll let you know how it works from that side, too.
One year ago: Big Bellies.