Northwest Portland

Rent your ride: Putting car sharing services to the test

Rent your ride: Putting car sharing services to the test

PORTLAND, Ore. – Cathy Hastie called herself a car addict, but she decided to end her addiction for a week.

“It was taking a whole week and pretending like I didn’t own a car,” she said.

AAA says the average price of owning a car is a little more than $9,000 per year, or about $25 per day. As the cost of owning a car increases, many Portlanders are trying car sharing instead.

Could it work for you? It depends on how much you drive.

Cathy tried different car sharing services to get around.

Zipcar

With Zipcar, Cathy picked up a car near her house and returned it nearby. She paid by the hour for the entire trip.

She said the cost for her was about $7 per hour, but only for the hours she actually used the car. Her total was about $15 per day. Less money, but not necessarily less stress, she said.

“When it’s costing you money, you think twice. Is it worth it to stop at the store?” Cathy said.

She had to plan ahead to get Zipcar reservations.

“That was always looming over my head, getting it back in time not to get the 50 dollar charge.”

car2go

Cathy picked up a car by her house and could drop it off anywhere. When it was time to leave, she found another car2go to get home.

“I found out they’re very popular,” she said.

She paid by the minute. Cathy said her cost was about $23 per hour during driving time. Her total was about $5 per day.

She believes she’d have to buy a smartphone to easily locate the cars. She said she felt stress wondering if there would be a car nearby when it was time to go home.

“If you were going to class and you absolutely needed a ride home, you’d better keep the car signed out to use so it’d be there when you get back. So you’d have to pay by the minute while you were in class.”

Other services

Cathy looked at other services too, like Getaround, where you can rent other people’s personal cars. The owners set their own prices.

It’s the same for Relay Rides, with local car owners offering their vehicles for $4 to $12 per hour.

Cathy said she hasn’t given up on car sharing. Her husband uses Zipcar for his job at a consulting firm. Plus he can ride a bike to work and save money on parking.

She said she may be willing to make the change once their second car finally dies.

“I have a sense that it would be worth it,” Cathy said.