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UK service helps neighbors share cars

Want to rent out your car when you don't need it?

A four-month-old London company, WhipCar, hooks up vehicle owners with people who want to rent private cars. Fast Company.com calls it a "peer-to-peer car-hire scheme" that seeks to compete with car-share companies like Zipcar, by making rental cars more available on weekends and in less populated areas, including smaller neighborhoods, where car-sharing firms aren't located.

ZipCar has grown rapidly in popularity, but has yet to turn a profit.

WhipCar's website says it "pairs sensible drivers with spare car time." Neighbors can rent from neighbors, the site says.

The company had to work out a special insurance policy with Lloyd's of London to protect vehicle owners from accidents incurred by the rental driver, Fast Company reports, and has grown from 30 vehicles in its first week to 600.

Rentals are done via the company's website, which tells vehicle owners how much their cars rent for in their neighborhoods.

Would the idea work in the United States? Fast Company quotes WhipCar official Vinay Gupta saying the company has its "eye on other places" but that expanding to other countires "will require an assessment of pros and cons."

--Katherine Shaver

What do you think? Do you have a car that mostly sits unused, or find yourself needed one only once in a while, such as to grab groceries, while neighbors' cars sit idly outside? Could this be a viable way to move around DC efficiently and affordably, without adding to congestion and parking woes? Chime in on the comments below.

By Luke Rosiak  | September 1, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion, District, Driving  | Tags:  Car share  
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Comments

In our litigious society, the liability issues will keep many, many people from using this type of service. To say nothing of the fears that the renter will scratch the car, smoke in it, allow their pet to shed hair in it, etc., etc., etc.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | September 1, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

@Capra, absolutely you can save huge on your auto insurance by making these simple changes find how much you can save http://bit.ly/c7nIvv

Posted by: aidenjose01 | September 2, 2010 2:29 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't have to worry about neighbors renting my cars. Only one of my neighbors can drive a proper manual transmission.

Posted by: 1995hoo | September 2, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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