With bicycle commuting
having become an increasingly popular mode of transportation, some drivers are also becoming less dependent on their cars. Whether it’s for environmental, health or financial reasons, more people are reconsidering both their degree of car ownership and the extent to which they use their gas guzzlers. A number of new services are catering to this mindset by applying the Sharing Economy
to the automotive category.
The idea of loaning out one’s car to a perfect stranger may seem unadvisable, but with the practice of sharing one’s bed
now downright common, people are getting more comfortable with it. San Francisco startup RelayRides
has been matching up car owners with drivers in its hometown and Boston since 2010. Now, a new partnership with General Motors
will see RelayRides advertising its service to the 6 million GM car owners who subscribe to OnStar, GM’s communications and assistance program. Of course, while car sharing services typically cater to those avoiding ownership, GM is hoping that after taking a spin in one of their rides, some of those renters will change their minds.
It’s now been a decade since Zipcar hit New York City, and it’s very likely that were it not for the car sharing service, more than a few apartments among the IKEA-reliant urban population would still be unfurnished. Seeking to expand its services, the company recently made a sizable investment in peer-to-peer car rental startup Wheelz
. Though it is similar to RelayRides in that it’s an online marketplace where people can rent cars directly from their owners, Wheelz differentiates itself from would-be competitors by focusing exclusively on campus-residing college students. It certainly sounds like a less taxing way to pay off student loan debt than working in the dining hall.
Turns out cars aren’t the only commodity when it comes to sharing among drivers. ParkatmyHouse
founder Anthony Eskinazi conceived the idea for his business when he passed an empty driveway near AT&T Stadium on his way to a Giants game. All too familiar with the difficulty of finding parking near a stadium on game day, he realized that there could be an opportunity in the monetization of residential driveways. He was right: ParkatmyHouse has since earned over $5 million for the 25,000 UK property owners using the service. Recently introduced in the US
, with backing from BMW i Ventures
, the startup is now targeting not only homeowners but also businesses seeking ancillary revenue streams.