A3 Ventures, the innovation arm of AAA, is gearing up for the launch of a new car sharing service in Oakland and Berkeley, California at the end of April. A3 Ventures is dedicated to developing new business models, products, and services for AAA. Called Gig, the new car sharing service will begin operations with a fleet of 250 Prius C sedans. All the cars are equipped with bicycle racks.

AAA car sharing service OaklandGig members can use a smart phone app to find the nearest car. A digital key will allow drivers to unlock and drive the car once they get in. Drivers are permitted to go anywhere they wish, but must return the car to the Oakland/Berkeley area when they are done using it. Becoming a member is easy. Simply download the app, then provide your driver’s license and credit card information. The service is intended primarily for people who do not own their own car or have access to a vehicle.

“It’s extending AAA’s core focus of enabling mobility,” said Mike Hetke, executive vice president and chief innovation officer at AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah. “We see a fundamental shift from individual car ownership to shared.” Within the HomeZone, drivers may leave the car anywhere. There is no need to return it to the place where the journey began. Oakland International Airport is convenienty located within the HomeZone area.

Gig charges $2.50 per mile, $15 per hour, or $85 per day, depending on what rate is the cheapest overall for the driver. AAA members get a 10 percent discount on those rates. Gas and insurance are included in the rate, although a driver may need to buy gas if the car is operated outside the home area. For comparison purposes, Maven, the car sharing service from General Motors charges $8 per hour to rent one of its cars.

A recent survey by the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis found 88 percent of respondents think commercially offered shared rides will be more than 5 percent of all U.S. passenger miles by 2030. 78 percent think car sharing will account for more than 20 percent of U.S. passenger miles traveled by 204o. Another study by UC Berkeley says that each shared car can remove up to 10 privately owned cars from congested urban roadways.

Source: San Jose Mercury News  Photo credit: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group