Having a car in San Francisco is an expensive ordeal
The monthly cost for a garage space in San Francisco runs about $300/month. If you don’t rent a space in the garage, you’ll have to deal with finding a parking space on the street.
Depending on which SF neighborhoods you live in, it could mean driving around for 30 minutes to wait for a space AND ending up with a parking ticket. Or worse, you come out in the morning to find your car simply not where you have left it because it has been towed.
Or you end up with broken windows because some vagrants saw something that looks remotely interesting on your backseat.
Fortunately there are many alternative transportation options in San Francisco for those who choose not to have a car
Car sharing programs in San Francisco include
Zipcar is one of the biggest car sharing programs in San Francisco. There are many Zipcar locations scattered throughout San Francisco. It is definitely the most convenient options if you need a car for a few hours to run errands.
Zimride – Zimride charges for its rides based on the number of passengers (per seat). For example, a ride from SF – Los Angeles would set you back around $40 per person.
Relayrides – think of AirBnb but for cars. Not as convenient as Zipcar when it comes to impromptu trips, but it can be cheaper if you can plan your trips ahead of time.
Wheelz – a new car-sharing program, similar to RelayRides where you ‘rent’ cars from willing car owners in your neighborhood.
CityCarShare – Similar concept as Zipcar. It prides itself as being a co-op.
FlightCar – A new startup that embodies the sharing economy. What to do with all of those parked cars at airports around the world while their owners are away? Why, rent them out of course? I scored a $15/day rental with them. The drawback? I have to make my way to the airport to pick up the car. Read about my FlightCar experience.
Even more car sharing programs that act more like a taxi
(you need to use a mobile app to use some these services)
Lyft – You can easily spot their cars by the think pink moustaches attached to the front benders. The fare is based on ‘donation’, but don’t be cheap. The drivers are able to rate you as a customer, bail out on paying and that might as well be your last ride with them.
SideCar – From their website: “Instantly connects people with extra space in their cars with those who need to get from one place to another. Spontaneous carpools!”
Uber – A premium taxi service using nice town cars. Reliable and oh, so fancy.
Have you ever tried getting a cab through dispatch in San Francisco? I have. 4 out of 4 they failed to show up. I’m personally done with taxis in the city (or at the very least, they’re my last resort). There’s definitely a void still waiting to be filled with reliable and economic alternative transportation options.
The list above is just a start. I’m sure there other car sharing programs sprouting up all the time.
Have one I need to include here? Let me know.