Transported: The New Car-Sharing Service In Town, RelayRides


Welcome to "Transported", our weekly series about getting places in San Francisco, whether you take the bus or the BART, bike or drive. Come here to find the skinny on secret parking spots, the new bike lanes and how to get across town on Muni without losing your mind.

Move over, ZipCar. There's a new car-sharing service in town, and it goes by the name of RelayRides. Remember when it wasn't weird for neighbors to share things with eachother, like a cup of sugar or a stick of butter? That's exactly how it works; starting today, RelayRides gives car owners who don't use their vehicles every day the chance to lend their idle autos to neighbors who need them for quick trips around the Bay Area.

Unlike ZipCar, RelayRides doesn't put new cars on the road. Started in Boston earlier this year, the popular program takes advantage of vehicles that just sit around most of the time. Car owners who join set their own hourly or daily rates for their vehicles (which can be anything from Honda Civics to Porsches or Jaguars), starting at $6 per hour, which is about $1-$2 cheaper than ZipCar's starting rate. Also, if you're worried about some maniac taking your car for a spin, know that RelayRides offers a $1 million insurance policy for every reservation.

Borrowers can reserve rides online and, currently, join for free. Gas and insurance are included, but toll passes aren't, so have cash handy if you're crossing any bridges. If you get into a fender bender or flatten a tire, RelayRides can come to your assistance 24 hours a day.

And it's not like you have to quit ZipCar to get in on RelayRides. If you're a member of both, it just means you'll have more cars to choose from, even on short notice. Heck, if you want to pick up your date in a Jag, find one via RelayRides to rent for a few hours and feel like you own the town. Got questions? Click here if you're going to be doing the borrowing, and click here if you'll be lending out your car.

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