Peer-to-peer car sharing service helps Portlanders Getaround

by Winning Mark on March 5, 2012

in Blog

Car on the waterfront -- PortlandPortlanders are already known for using alternative means of transportation, but transportation is about to get a whole lot more innovative here in the Rose City.

 Getaround, a peer-to-peer car sharing service, is bringing its program here. Already established in San Diego and San Francisco,  a newly passed piece of legislature cleared the way for the company to move north.

 Peer-to-peer car sharing is relatively new, but Getaround, the city of Portland, and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium are entering into a unique partnership to obtain data and better understand the practice. Utilizing a 1.725 million dollar grant from the Federal Highway Administration, the three entities will be examining whether (and to what extent) peer-to-peer car sharing services reduce the total amount of miles driven by vehicle owners.

How does Getaround work? Put simply, it connects people who need a car with people who have one to (temporarily) spare. Car owners list their vehicles as available to rent, and car seekers get in touch with them directly to arrange a rental. Their model is highly decentralized: owners set their own prices and are responsible for making their cars appealing to renters; renters can queue up up to five cars at once and the first owner to contact them wins the bid. The idea here is that everybody wins: the car owner earns money, renters have use of a car without the hassle or expense of purchasing one — not to mention the benefits to the environment and the local economy.

I just listed my car on Getaround, and am super excited about it. Instead of sitting idle every week day, my vehicle will help make the lives of people in my community a little easier and earn me a few bucks to boot, and that makes me happy. The fact that this process will help my local and federal government better understand a novel transportation model makes me even happier.

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