Using a patchwork of transportation methods to replace your car may not be as far-fetched as you think. For city dwellers looking for access to a car without having to own one, here are some of the many options to get wheels. Not all options are available in all cities.
Usually, a membership is required and users pick up and return the cars to a designated location. Zipcar, for example, positions cars on college campuses or well-trafficked parking lots throughout the U.S. The company charges a $25 application fee, a low monthly membership fee, starting at $7, plus a rental fee — around $7 to $10 per hour and $75 to $80 per day, depending on location.
Point-to-point car rentals
With these programs, you find an available car parked nearby, drive it to your destination and leave it for someone else to use. Car2Go is currently available in seven U.S. cities and requires a $5 sign-up fee but no monthly charges. Similarly, ReachNow, operated by BMW, offers short or longer rentals (as many as five days) — or you can hire a driver to pick you up. It’s available in only three cities so far.
Peer-to-peer car rentals
Curious about what it would be like to drive a Tesla? Maybe you can rent one for a day from the owner on Turo. Turo’s website said it’s available in 4,700 cities in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Prices are set by the car owners and vary greatly, from $10 to hundreds of dollars per day. Getaround, a similar service, is in eight cities so far. Rental rates are set by owners and start at $5 per hour.
Monthly car rentals
For people needing a car for a month or more, several companies offer longer-term rental services. Sixt, Hertz Multi-Month Program and Enterprise Month-or-More Program all promise to save you money with monthly discounts off regular rates. Prices vary by location, car and duration, but rates for a two-month rental of an economy car ranged from $1,500 to $2,500, including taxes and fees.
Vehicle subscription services
With Book by Cadillac, available in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, you get your choice of Cadillacs and can switch between models 18 times a year. Subscribers pay $1,800 per month. Ford offers a less expensive subscription service, Canvas, which began in San Francisco and recently launched in congested West Los Angeles.