Heading out of town for a bit? A new San Francisco company may have some cash for you if you let them borrow your car while you're gone.
Car-owners make their cars available for strangers to borrow, and get some cash in exchange. Getaround brokers the transaction, making sure everyone behaves well and that the money and cars change hands as agreed. The company also handles insurance.
Cars are available all over the City through Getaround, ranging from high-end Teslas to more modest vehicles. Owners set the price to borrow their ride, somewhat like eBay for car rentals.
A mobile app helps users find the car closest to them. Thanks to a little extra equipment installed in the cars, users can even unlock the vehicle with their phones.
It's similar to another car-sharing service that just launched, this one called Spride. Like Getaround, Spride cars have a special piece of unlocking equipment installed, allowing renters to slip in and out of the vehicle as needed. Spride has partnered with City CarShare, a car-sharing nonprofit with a long history in the Bay Area, to provide cars to members.
Expect to see more companies like these in the coming year: a recent change to California law made them possible, and opened the door to new ride-sharing systems. For car-owners, it's a great way to offset the high price of ownership. And for renters, it's a great way to avoid having to worry about costs associated with purchasing, insuring, maintaining, parking, and fueling a vehicle.