Car Sharing Services

Originally posted on May 06, 2022 3:00 pm
Updated on April 28, 2022 5:02 pm

Owning a car in New York City can be a real blessing or a real pain. It’s convenient when you need to get somewhere fast and the only other method is taking the subway, which can be late or take twice as long. It’s convenient when it comes to tasks like moving things from IKEA, big grocery runs, or a quick trip upstate or out-of-state. It definitely is a pain when it comes to paying for an overpriced parking spot, sweating while trying to find parking in Chinatown or near Times Square, and handing over a hefty insurance plan.

However, do not fret. If you want to have a car for short periods of time, but do not want to go through the cons of owning a car, NYC provides many car-share services, and oh, are they popular. For those who are not too familiar with this concept, a car-share service provides access to a vehicle for short-term use, usually billed by the minute, hour, or day. All costs like gas are also built into the cost of a car-share service. 

The benefits of car-sharing include lowering transportation costs in cases where you have to have a car. This means not having to pay for insurance, monthly parking garages, and maintenance bills. Using a car-share service can also cut your time down when it comes to parking. There are usually spots reserved for this type of service. Best of all, it does help with the environment. Those who use a care-sharing service will drive less than those who own a car, which means less driving, cleaner air. After hearing all the ins and outs of what car-sharing is, here are some options in the city that you can choose from.

1. ZipCar

One of the earliest and most well-known car-sharing services in NYC, ZipCar uses a “station-based” system. Users pick up and drop off cars at fixed locations such as parking garages. Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts by Robin Chase and Antje Danielson, they wanted to bring the European car-sharing idea to North America. Their mission is to enable simple and responsible urban living.

To start using this program, you will have to be 21 or older and have a valid license, credit or debit card. ZipCar has you pick out a monthly ($7/month, driving rates from $10/hour and $83/day) or annual plan ($70/year, driving rates from $10/hour and $83/day), verify your driver’s license and identity, and once approved you can immediately pick from the cars they have available. Different cars will go for different prices and they ask that users keep the car clean, fill up on gas if it’s below 1/4th of the tank (they provide a gas card), and return the car on time.

ZipCar is in every borough, but there are more in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Cars can be booked online through their site or through the ZipCar app.

2. RealCar

If you’re looking for the luxurious feel when you drive a car, RealCar is the perfect option. From cars like a Porsche Cayenne to a Maserati Levante, this car-share service has you really riding in style. Users must be 21-years old or older, hold a valid driver’s license (which has to be presented when you receive your vehicle), and must be physically present at the time the car is supposed to be picked up. They do not allow third-party guests to retrieve the car. 

RealCar will need information such as payment information, driver’s license, and will have identity verification questions that should be readily answered without reference to other material. Users can either pick-up the car or, by giving the service a 24-hour notice, can have the car delivered.They provide a very handy FAQ section for all the detailed questions.

To book a car with them, they will have the user fill out the pick-up date and time as well as the drop-off date and time. Then, the user will pick the desired vehicle and the costs depend on the amount of time, vehicle, and additional costs like insurance, miles, and tolls. 

3. SilverCar

This car-sharing service offered by Audi is offered in two locations in NYC. One at 475 Clermont Avenue and the other at 345 West 58th Street. This is the option for those who have always wanted to drive an Audi, for those obsessed with Audi, or for anyone in between. SilverCar might be the sleekest and the easiest car-share service to use. They are completely app-based, contactless, and will even deliver and pick-up from the user’s location. A great perk with SilverCar is that extras like in-car wifi, Apple Carplay, child seats, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio are completely free. 

SilverCar says that after each use, each of their cars go through a thorough 19-point cleaning process that follows CDC guidelines. But how does it work? First, the user will have to download the app, which will have you fill out your profile, and then you can start booking and managing your trip. Costs vary depending on the type of car the user books, but rates usually start around $49 per day. First time drivers that book with SilverCar can even get 15% off. 

4. Kyte

Kyte is a fairly simple website to navigate and use. Users have to be 18-years old or older to rent and have a valid driver’s license. To book with Kyte, fill out your delivery and return address, dates and times, choose your vehicle (cars vary in price), complete a verification process, and Kyte can deliver and pick-up to the user’s door. They also have return sites, if the user wishes to return the vehicle themselves. 

Unlike the other car-share services, a deposit is required when it comes to booking with Kyte. For credit card bookings, it is $300, and for debit, it’s $500. These deposits are placed on the day your trip starts, and the hold is released upon return. They accept all major credit and debit cards, but no cash is allowed. 

With a car booked with car-share, there are a number of places you could travel to. For a weekend getaway, consider a ride to Harriman State Park where it’s only 35 miles from the city. Despite it not being fall or winter, a trip to the Catskills is still worth it with many restaurants and activities like horse-back riding, hiking, fishing, and more. Considering New Jersey is right next to the city, getting there with a car would be faster than public transportation. The possibilities are endless, just don’t go over the border to Canada without letting your car-share service know!

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