Denver got a new transportation disruptor on Thursday. No, not more scooters — this time, it’s Getaround, a decentralized car-sharing system based in the Bay Area that allows you to rent your car out to perfect strangers or, inversely, rent a perfect stranger’s wheels for the day.
Here’s how it works: I, a car owner, register my – let’s say – Subaru with a snowboard rack with the app. Part of this process involves naming your car. We’ll call mine “Steve.” It’s free to list Steve for the first 30 days.
Getaround will come by and take photos of Steve and install hardware that tracks his whereabouts with GPS and allows me to lock the car remotely. Their system can even remotely lock Steve’s engine if necessary.
I get to set the times when Steve will be available and where he’ll be for someone to pick him up. When a car-less snowboarder needs Steve to get to Winter Park, the car will be listed with amenities on the app and ready for a day in the mountains. Getaround provides primary insurance for times when Steve is rented out, and the company says they’ll even “work with you” on repairs if one of those trips goes awry.
If I like using the app, I pay Getaround $99 to cover hardware installation, then it costs $20 a month to keep Steve listed and the app scoops up 40 percent of each rental. My take accrues monthly and is sent as a paycheck on the 15th of the month.
Getaround said in a press release they’re currently operating in 90 cities. A map of registered cars on their website shows healthy distribution on the coasts and little dollops here on the Front Range. A look at the app on Thursday afternoon, however, revealed that there were just four cars available in the city.
It is their first day of operation, and the company clearly expects there to me more growth pretty soon. Getaround said in the press release that they “brought on a dozen local employees to help ensure a successful expansion into the area and has secured office space in Denver.”
Those four cars ranged from a 2015 Mercedes SUV that goes for $67 (for an 8-hour shift) to a Jetta that runs for $35. In San Fransisco, where the car share market is thriving, a cherry red BMW was listed at $247 for the day. A spokesperson for the company said rates are decided by a car’s condition and type, and can increase with demand like Lyft and Uber’s surge pricing.