Tim Shults
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Washington, DC to Be Site of Car Rental/Sharing Power Struggle

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Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC is turning into a virtual battleground for car rental and ride-sharing apps. Several apps already existed in the city before this week, including Bridj (a more private bus service), Uber (a peer-to-peer taxi service), and Zipcar (a car rental service). And now, two more apps launched in the area.

The first this week came out on Monday, May 18th, called GetAround, where car owners can offer their cars for rental for between five and nine dollars per hour.

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The next to come out is called Split, which launched on Wednesday. This is a predominantly ridesharing app targeting young professionals, which uses an algorithm to match customers with drivers going in the same direction and charges the user a two dollar flat rate, plus one dollar per mile.

ABC’s WJLA asked Uber and Zipcar if they had any comment on the new competition. Uber declined to comment, but the Washington, DC General Manager for Zipcar Scott Hall sent a statement that seemed singularly unfazed.

“Zipcar and GetAround are two very different car sharing models,” he said. “Zipcar owns an updated, well-maintained fleet of vehicles which are available for members to reserve 24/7.” He later continued, “Zipcar provides ‘wheels when you want them’ without the hassles and costs of vehicle ownership.”

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It is unclear who will come out on top, but in a city where over 545,000 people are of legal driving age (according to the 2014 U.S. census), it could be anyone’s victory.

  • SteveG

    Odd that Zipcar’s spokesman sounds “singularly unfazed.” Here in Portland, Oregon, where they now compete directly or indirectly with Car2go, Getaround, Uber and Lyft, their presence seems to have shrunk dramatically. The number of Zipcar pods and available cars seems much lower than a few years ago.