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The Intersection of Long-Term Airport Parking and Car Sharing

by Shilpi Paul

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As the car sharing ethos spreads throughout various communities, it seemed inevitable that it would reach a place that is both a transit hub and a giant parking lot: the airport.

RelayRides, the San Francisco-based start-up that coordinates between car owners and those who need access, is trying out a new venture, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Starting on August 9th, RelayRides will be giving folks flying out the the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) the option of leaving their cars in a special lot, for free. The catch is that interested renters will then be able to rent out those cars during the duration of the owners’ trips. When the owners return, the car will be washed and have a full gas tank.

For those who believe in car sharing, the set-up makes sense: airports are full of car rental outfits, while thousands of cars sit unused in long-term parking lots. Combining the two, at least to some degree, seems efficient. The rental rates will be set at about 40 percent of the cost of a standard rental car, and car owners will be liberated from the typical $18 per day fee that the SFO parking lot charges.

Currently, RelayRide users can already choose an airport as their “pick-up” destination when sharing their car. The new venture adds a dedicated parking lot, an attendant, security, and shuttle rides between the terminals and lot.

If the trial works well, RelayRides hopes to expand to other airports. Readers, do you think something like this could work at Dulles or Reagan National?

See other articles related to: relayrides, car sharing

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/relayrides_to_combine_long_term_airport_parking_with_car_sharing/7397

10 Comments

  1. Daniel said at 1:07 pm on Wednesday July 31, 2013:

    Yes, definitely. Honestly, the best part about this may be the free car wash and gas.

  1. Kramer said at 1:09 pm on Wednesday July 31, 2013:

    I see @ModernSeinfeld having a field day with this one…

  1. AI said at 1:17 pm on Wednesday July 31, 2013:
  1. smn-dc said at 2:30 pm on Wednesday July 31, 2013:

    What a fantastic idea. It’s like an AirB&B for cars.  I’m just waiting for the car rental industry (and the city?) to sue this company.

  1. adriana said at 3:13 pm on Wednesday July 31, 2013:

    Sounds like a brilliant idea if you have a car you don’t care much about And whoever rents you car doesn’t rack up more than $18 worth of miles.

  1. C said at 4:46 pm on Wednesday July 31, 2013:

    On the surface, it sounds like a great idea or win-win.  However, I have questions.  While it’s nice to park your car (if applicable) for free in long-term parking at airports, there’s something sort of creepy about having people you don’t know renting/driving your car.  I’m not even talking about luxury model cars.  How exactly does this work?  I’m guessing that the rental fee that this 3rd party business gets far exceeds what one pays per day to park at the airpot.  Just a wild guess on my part.  Additionally, does this 3rd party business have insurance or liability insurance or does the owner of the car need to have added/extra insurance to cover liability issues since it’s being rented out to who-knows-what kind of driver might be using the car.  Anyone know any of the answers to any of my questions?

  1. Bob said at 8:56 am on Monday August 5, 2013:

    This is a nice idea and can work great if we have a large number of people traveling away from the city for a considerable amount of days(>3). This allows the rental owner to earn more from the car. All rentals are made for a day’s time or probably for 3 days max. Th renter will require time to get the car washed and keep it ready for the owner when he returns.

  1. Raymond said at 9:03 am on Monday August 5, 2013:

    Sure Bob, I agree with what you have to say but a questions arises…will the rental be able to manage the supply and demand cycle? Will there be enough cars to give out on rent? For this the rental company will have to keep a buffer ready. Now this poses a problem where the rental firm may get confused on whether or not to use the car left by others instead of their own cars?
    On a trip to Ireland, I found a rental company that saved me my time..In my flight I was reading this blog about Ireland
    http://www.dan-dooley.ie/blog/general-car-rental-news/driving-tips-for-ireland-dan-dooley/

  1. Barry James said at 5:53 am on Tuesday August 20, 2013:

    Car sharing can be fantastic if it suits the sharers. It does require a degree of co-operation and reduced flexibility (i.e. you’re going to have to do the same hours as your sharer) but the financial savings are significant enough to make it a serious option for people to consider. I share with two other people and my fuel expenses are 40% of what they would be if I drove in separately. Its nice that employers are proving incentives for this, but I dont think this is totally necessary. All that is required is the system to find sharers and the flexibility to enable sharing and the individual should be enabled to do it. The additional savings I make on my commute mean I’m able to afford a car for the weekends too.

    I’m no greeny either and accept that its not for everyone!

  1. Joy Brooki said at 12:16 am on Friday September 20, 2013:

    That’s very good news to hear, and you are right about car sharing.

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