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Car sharing outlets in Chicago

July 15, 2013|By Riley Blevins @Riley_Blevins | RedEye

SideCar – The Sidecar app is free on iTunes and Android market. When you need a ride, verify your location in the app and enter where you want to go. A request will go out to drivers nearby. Once your request is accepted, you’ll see a photo of your driver and will be able to track their progress in real-time on a map screen. At the end of the trip, you pay the driver the rate you think is fair. An interesting note about drivers: to be a Sidecar driver, you must own a four-door car built after the year 2000. 

IGO – IGO’s model is more in line with traditional car rental, but with a few key differences. IGO gives the user sole control of a vehicle during your requested reservation time. But unlike rental, you pick up and drop off your car from a location near your neighborhood.IGO has vehicles parked all over Chicago and in four suburbs as well. To join, a user must apply and choose from four different membership rates. Once your application is approved, you’ll receive a “smart card” to access vehicles. Also unlike others, IGO is not a non-profit organization. The car sharing organization that started in Chicago in 2002 was purchased by Enterprise Holdings–the operators of Enterprise, National and Alamo Rent-A-Car companies in late May.

Zipcar – Zipcar operates much like IGO. You must apply, choose from plans and you’ll eventually receive a Zipcar card. The card, unlike IGO, is used to lock and unlock the car during the duration of your trip--or in other words, the keys never leave the cars. Zipcar has both a free app and website to request a car. When trying to request, you’ll be able to choose from different vehicle makes and models. Also, each car is given a “nickname” name tag to help you better local the correct car--like “Flap-Jack” or “Speedy.”

Uber – No more standing at the curb trying to flag down a taxi. With Uber, users can request several different ride options from professional drivers around the city. With Uber’s free smartphone app, website or via text message, users choose from taxis, smart cars, SUVs and black sedans at various rates. Once requested, the nearest driver will be dispatched to your location. You’ll receive a text with the estimated time of arrival and another when the ride arrives. Uber will automatically charge your credit card after the trip.

RelayRides – With RelayRides, you’re borrowing cars currently owned by peers and neighbors. Using the free smartphone app or website, you can browse cars available for borrowing. Next, meet the owner and get the keys or, with some cars, use the app to open the door and find the keys inside. Renters are required to replace gas. Those who list their cars choose the rates and allotted time available.

Getaround – Getaround works pretty much exactly the same as RelayRides. You can browse cars and times listed in your area with the free iPhone app or website. You have to be 19 years old to rent. International licenses are also accepted.

Exotic Car Share – Fork over $250 for a five-year membership to this Palatine-based organization and you’ll have access to cars and brands including Ferrari, Porsche, Viper, Prowler, Alfa-Romeo, Corvette and more. A three-day reservation will run you $990 ($1,440 for a Ferrari) and week-long reservations are $1,280 ($1,880 for a Ferrari).

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