Uber and Lyft have become household names in many cities. Peer-to-peer car services such as ridesharing, carpooling, and car sharing have become simple, efficient first steps to take toward a sharing economy and ultimately, more trusting communities.
But these two behemoths of the ridesharing industry aren't the only ones to choose from — and they shouldn't be. Both companies are facing backlash in cities around the US, leaving room for other startups and services that offer ridesharing and carpooling to gain ground in the market.
Here are 10 great ridesharing services we found.
Carma is a carpooling service in Austin, Texas, San Francisco and Bergen. The company has set itself apart by trying to appeal specifically to work trip commutes. After getting the car you're sharing, you just start the app and it begins logging your journey. When you hit "end trip," it automatically reimburses the driver.
BlaBlaCar is a UK ridesharing service that connects drivers who have empty seats with people looking for a ride. Simply enter your departure and arrival destinations and times, then choose a driver that's headed your way. You can contact them via phone or text to book your seat. Show up at the meeting place, then bring exact change — but this isn't a ride for hire. It's offsetting costs for the trip. Rate the drivers after your trip to build trust.
3. Relay Rides
Relay Rides is a peer-to-peer carsharing marketplace. Car owners can rent out their vehicles to people and set their own prices. They can just list their car, upload some photos, and update a calendar. The company notifies you if someone wants your car, but the owner has complete control, and it even has its own insurance. Relay Rides also offers service at airports now — in select cities, you can just leave your car there. And if you are the one needing a car, it's often much cheaper than renting from Enterprise or Zipcar, for example.
Sidecar is another ridesharing service that you can use when someone near you is headed in the same direction. Drivers set the price themselves, and it's usually much cheaper than Lyft and Uber — and you pay with the app. Drivers are pre-screened, the rides are GPS-tracked, and covered by insurance. All the vehicles were made in 2000 or later. The service is based in San Francisco and has grown to reach 10 US cities.
Ridejoy is a marketplace for car sharing with friendly people. If you're going on a trip and have an extra seat, list it on the website. You share the ride expenses with whoever is in the car. The service is based in the Bay Area, but it is also available in several other US cities. Ridejoy also recently launched an app.
Getaround is one of the more popular peer-to-peer car sharing and rental services. It's social car sharing, but with hourly and daily rental rates. Insurance is included in the cost. You search for cars nearby with the app, enter your license and credit card, and book it with your phone. If you have a car you want to share when you're not using it, you can make some extra cash with Getaround, too.
With JustShareIt, rent vehicles in your neighborhood when you're going to work or wherever you're traveling. It's an hourly rental service for cars, trucks, vans, and RVs. You just need a license and credit card to reserve a car through the app or website. JustShareIt has insurance and roadside insurance. To access the vehicles, you can use it directly through the app with "On Demand" or with a key pickup using the "Express" version.
Even Enterprise Rent-A-Car is getting in on ridesharing. The company developed Zimride, which uses social networking to connect drivers going to the same destinations. Make a Zimride profile and check out others' music interests and hobbies before you sign up for or offer a ride. Ride payouts are made through PayPal.
Car2Go is a fleet of eco-friendly Smart cars that are accessed with a card. To join Car2Go, you must register online to receive a card in the mail that allows you to use the service in any of its cities in the North America and Europe. It requires a one-time fee of $35, plus the cost of the time you spend in the car (150 miles are included in the trip in the US). To see if a car is available when you find one in your city, check the card reader on the windshield. To open the car, hold the member card you were issued in the mail, wait for the doors to unlock, and follow instructions on the computer screen.
10. Shared EV fleets
Princeton Power Systems, based in New Jersey, unveiled a plug-in electric vehicle fleet at Los Angeles Air Force Base last week. The power company has worked closely with third-party auto manufacturers and software aggregators to figure out the charging stations and the best way to manage the fleet. It's one of the first of its kind and a sign of things to come for car-sharing services in the future.
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Lyndsey Gilpin has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Lyndsey Gilpin is a former Staff Writer for TechRepublic, covering sustainability and entrepreneurship. She's co-author of the book Follow the Geeks.