Re: car-sharing question
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2018 15:12:46 -0800 (PST)
On Mar 1, 2018, at 4:22 PM, Muriel Kranowski <murielk [at]> wrote:
> The burning soul who really wants this to happen
> has already done quite a lot of research, but he realizes that he doesn't
> know everything that might be involved, so I'm asking on his behalf here on
> Coho-L.

I use car sharing services and have some information that might be helpful. If 
you have such a service in your area, find out if you can arrange a “corporate 
lease” to have a car parked in your parking lot. I investigated this in about 
2003 Zipcar came to DC. At that time, if the Board signed a contract to pay up 
to $1600 a month whenever rentals fell below that they would park a car in our 
lot exclusively for our use.

Those who wanted to use it would be members of ZipCar (corporate memberships 
are free) and would use ZipCars' online reservations system to book and pay for 
using the car. Zipcar would come to do maintenance and switch out cars when 
necessary. We could choose a make and model.

Zipcar hourly charges include insurance, gas, and car washing. Flat tires, etc. 
Hourly charges depend on the kind of car but at that time, 8-10 hours of use a 
week would cover the $1600 a month minimum. I did a survey to see who would 
pledge to use the car for how many hours a week. We didn’t have enough pledges.

I haven’t tried to “lease” a car since then. Now we have several people who 
will lend their cars. But that gets iffy on a regular basis. I can’t pay people 
to use their car for insurance and liability reasons so I have to figure out 
ways not to feel guilty. I would find informal sharing by a few people 
difficult because would require constant checking to see if the car is free.

Zipcar has a phone app that will let you know 30 minutes before your 
reservations ends if the car is still available or another person is waiting to 
use it.

Zipcars can’t be reserved for more than 12 (?) hours. No weekend trips.

I’m sure other car sharing services have similar programs and in the end may be 
less expensive and irritating than trying to share with more than 2-3 people 
who share similar car needs. Walk through the parking lot, for example, and 
look at the interiors of the cars. Is it okay if one person leave two boxes in 
the back seat to pick up vegetables every week? Who vacuums? When does the gas 
tank have to be filled? Zipcar has already set up rules/guidelines for this.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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