Sharing has been in the news a lot recently. Last week I told you how to share household items with your neighbors and a month ago I shared about U.S. bike-sharing services cropping up. Will 2011 be the year of shared resources?
Another one-of-kind program has just launched that allows neighbors to share their cars. RelayRides allows you to charge money to nearby people who want to borrow you car, or you can pay as low as $6 per hour to rent a neighbor’s car.
RelayRides founder Shelby Clark told the Boston Globe he thinks sharing is increasing.
“I think there’s a real trend of people rejecting ownership in favor of access,” Clark said. “You look at things like Netflix, RentTheRunway, Zipcar, or various textbook rental programs. You get the benefits of ownership without the hassle and cost.”
The program is now available in Boston and San Francisco, with plans to add many more cities in 2011. Potential members must fill out a five-minute application, and hold a valid driver’s licence and a good driving record. In case of an accident, there is a $1 million insurance policy included in which users must pay a $500 deductable.
While the Wall Street Journal question if users would really want to share their car with strangers, RelayRides has been getting glowing reviews by users.
“It’s the same as using a rental car and as long as people are respectful with my car, I feel really comfortable letting people use it,” said car-owner Anthony Burdi. He lets neighbors borrow his 2009 Prius while he isn’t using it.
The RelayRides system can earn car-owners thousands of dollars per week while their car is borrowed and returned during unused hours. The cost ends up 10% cheaper for borrows than with other car-sharing companies and car-borrowers can save $400 a month over owning a car.
By using existing cars the company is not buying more cars and parking spots, intended reduce city car congestion.
Photo by AndYaDontStop on Flickr