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GetAround Car Renting App Lauches in Washington, DC

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Cell Phone in Car

Somewhere, a Beach Boys fan is bobbing their head. GetAround, a mobile app that allows people to rent out their cars, officially launched their service in Washington, DC on May 18th. Previously it was only available in San Franscisco and Portland, Oregon.

The way the app works is that the owner signs up and has a special device installed that allows the car to be unlocked using the mobile app. The renter reserves the car, uses the app to unlock the car, and finds the key hidden in a pouch in the car. From there, the renter takes off. Vehicles are rented out for at least one hour, and then the renter is charged every quarter-hour. After using the car, the renter is required to fill up the car and return it to near where they found it.

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There are costs to the renter – the unlocking device costs $99 to install, and there is a $20 fee every month to stay connected to the network. Also, cars have to be less than 10 years old, with fewer than 125,000 miles.

The return is $1,000 in the first three months, guaranteed by GetAround. Rates for renters range between $5 and $9 per hour.

As far as safety goes, GetAround provides insurance for the drivers during the rental, and also a feature that prevents a car from being started without unlocking the car using the app (intended to prevent a thief from breaking in and driving off using the key in the pouch).

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GetAround’s real struggle will be in competing with other car-renting apps such as Uber and Car2Go, which don’t require that renters return the car to a particular location or top off the tank.

News Source: The Washington Post