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My First City CarShare Trip: A Car Just When You Need It

City Car Share Prius

I went on my first City CarShare excursion yesterday and really enjoyed it!

City CarShare is a car rental service in the Bay Area that prides themselves on how green their fleet is, including many types of hybrids, all-electric and fuel efficient conventional vehicles.  As a new San Francisco resident, owning a car is prohibitively expensive and difficult, so I was eager to give this service a try.

It couldn't have been easier. On Saturday morning, I went to the City CarShare website and searched for available vehicles during the timeframe that I wanted the next day.  Several available cars showed up, most within a few blocks of me.  I chose a Toyota Prius, since I've never driven one before.  

On Sunday morning, I walked a few minutes to a local gas station and saw my selected vehicle waiting for me. I even liked the color. I tapped a little plastic fob to the windshield, and got a little thrill as the car doors clicked open.  

After a little time with the manual familiarizing myself with the Prius's features, I was on the road!  First stop was my sister's house in Alameda to pick up a television that she was giving to me.  It was the kind of errand that would have been really difficult to accomplish any other way.  We visited for a bit, loaded up the flat screen, and then I was back on the freeway toward Oakland.

I hung out for 40 minutes with my friends Frank and Adriana, who had a Google TV settop device that they were happy to lend to me.  I realized the time was getting a little late, so I fired up the City CarShare app on my phone and quickly added 30 minutes to my reservation time.

I made my way back to the city, with time to spare.  So I paid it forward by filling up the gas on the car, which is paid for by City CarShare.  I parked the car where I found it, touched the fob to the windshield to lock the car, and I was done!

My understanding is that ZipCar provides a similar service with comparable rates.  I do like that City CarShare is a local nonprofit committed to reducing the number of cars on the roadway and having the "greenest fleet" of cars.  If you do have to drive a car, which many people in the Bay don't, than City CarShare seems like a responsible option, at least for the occasional trip, if not a regular commute.  I recommend it.


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