carshare

Sharing Catching On?

This weekend, not once but twice did I see RelayRides vehicles in action.  I mentioned RelayRides back in February after returning from the annual Transportation Research Board Conference in Washington, DC, where I overheard friendly banter between their Founder and some representatives of the federal Department of Transportation about the need for better carsharing incentives.  After initial success in Boston, the neighbor-to-neighbor carsharing service set out to conquer San Francisco, and now I’ve seen their users conquering the streets of the city as well as those of nature-preserved Marin County. I also recently received a newsletter from Avego, a real-time ridesharing service based in Seattle.  They’ve worked to create a critical mass of riders and drivers to facilitate real-time ridesharing to and from the Microsoft campus outside Seattle with their go520 project.  How are they getting it?  By offering a guaranteed ride in addition to rides arranged on the fly.  This will encourage skeptics to try it out, and the hope is that they’ll be satisfied and establish the needed critical mass for the system to run smoothly on its own.  They’re well on their way; over 1,000 participants have already signed up.

Lastly, I wanted to mention the launch of Boston’s bikeshare system, Hubway.  On July 28th, the system launched with 60 stations and already more than 700 people signed up for an annual membership.  Boston currently has about 35 miles of bike lanes, most of which have been built under Mayor Menino’s vision for a more bicycle-friendly city.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaTfsTdPsEs&w=439&h=250]

- Terra Curtis

 

Getaround.com

getaroundMy first day back in San Francisco, I walked by a paper sign stapled to a utility pole advertising a pilot of a new peer-to-peer carsharing service called Getaround.  Since then, I’ve seen no other evidence of the company on the ground, so I decided to look into it a little further. The service, which allows car-owners to rent their cars to others in their neighborhood using an iPhone app, has arranged insurance coverage for the duration of rentals, covering liability, collision, and theft and a deductible of only $500, for which the car-driver (not the owner) would be responsible.  Physical key-swapping is an option, however the company also has a “Carkit” that allows renters to unlock vehicles with their iPhone.

Getaround also pays parking tickets up front, leaving the car-owner free of any headaches and the car driver responsible for reimbursing the company.  (Side note: what if the Getaround app could be integrated with the SFPark data so Getaround users could see parking availability and also detailed parking pricing information to avoid unnecessary fees?)

The company has likened itself to Airbnb, a peer-to-peer apartment rental service, allowing renters to capitalize on unused space when their room is temporarily vacant.  While some have been skeptical of the feasibility of these services, questioning individuals’ openness to sharing their own property with strangers, both companies are having initial successes and hiring.  Airbnb was nominated for a Webby award.

But back to Getaround, in a recent survey of its Twitter followers, the company found only two users who liked the concept but would not rent their own vehicle.  @ryanisnan first expressed concern, but seemed to lighten up to the idea after he was assured that Getaround basically takes all responsibility while the car is in the hands of the renter.  @Getaround responded by reiterating that they screen all drivers before allowing them to rent to ensure the driver has a safe driving record.

Have you tried it?  Would you rent your own?

- Terra Curtis

 

Rest your hitchhiker's thumb: Flinc at your service

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxpC2q33jUk&w=425&h=344] We’ve written a lot lately about how advancements in both technology and legislation are increasing personal mobility (see Ubercab and AB 1871).  We’ve just discovered another example in flinc, an Austria-based company piloting their solution in the German city of Friedrichshafen.  They’ve also been noticed by the European Satellite Navigation Competition of 2010, winning an award in the location-based services category. Flinc integrates automobile navigation systems with mobile phones, and allows a driver traveling to a specific destination to connect, in real time, with a “hitchhiker” along their route, going the same way.  It saves both parties money and, by encouraging carpooling, saves emissions and helps the environment.

If you’re interested in seeing flinc piloted in your region, let your voice be heard!  They’re basing development on citizen input.  Check out the map feature on their website to see who’s leading in votes.  Posting 17 votes so far, Copenhagen hopes to see flinc at Living Lab’s Summit on Service Innovation in November.

-Terra Curtis

Rest your hitchhiker's thumb: Flinc at your service

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxpC2q33jUk&w=425&h=344] We’ve written a lot lately about how advancements in both technology and legislation are increasing personal mobility (see Ubercab and AB 1871).  We’ve just discovered another example in flinc, an Austria-based company piloting their solution in the German city of Friedrichshafen.  They’ve also been noticed by the European Satellite Navigation Competition of 2010, winning an award in the location-based services category. Flinc integrates automobile navigation systems with mobile phones, and allows a driver traveling to a specific destination to connect, in real time, with a “hitchhiker” along their route, going the same way.  It saves both parties money and, by encouraging carpooling, saves emissions and helps the environment.

If you’re interested in seeing flinc piloted in your region, let your voice be heard!  They’re basing development on citizen input.  Check out the map feature on their website to see who’s leading in votes.  Posting 17 votes so far, Copenhagen hopes to see flinc at Living Lab’s Summit on Service Innovation in November.

-Terra Curtis