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Important Things to Know Before Choosing a Car Sharing Company

Kaitlyn Short
Kaitlyn Short | Senior Editor

Getting from point A to point B is changing. Traditional taxi cab services or car rental companies have been upstaged by newer, more convenient business models. For those who don’t own a car, whether by circumstance or by choice, a growing number of affordable ride- and car-sharing options are available. Once you know what kind of service you want to connect with, you can easily download an app and reserve a ride. We have reviewed three basic categories of car sharing services. Check out the differences below to see what options will work best for you.


Hailing a cab used to mean actually going outside to get their attention. You could also call a phone number to schedule a taxi. New ride-hailing companies are helping users to skip that step.

Simply download an app, enter payment information, and click to see nearby drivers that are available to pick you up. These e-hailing apps bring the convenience of a traditional taxi cab together with the technology that lets you avoid calling taxi dispatch, know that someone is coming for you, and make an immediate decision.

There are two main types of ride-hailing companies: peer-to-peer and professional.

Peer-to-peer ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft offer riders a taxi-like experience with direct pickup and dropoff, while offering local drivers the chance to make money using their own car.

Other ride-hailing apps specialize in connecting you with a nearby licensed, professional, taxi or black car drivers just waiting for fares. You don’t have to call and talk to someone. You get to see how far away they are, and you still get to avoid worry about insurance or parking.

Things to Consider:

  • Less stress: You get to avoid worrying about driving, parking, or car insurance.
  • Variety: Ridesharing companies offer different types of cars and rides. This is helpful when you need a big car to take your family to the airport, or you want a luxury ride when you are having a celebratory night on the town.
  • Surge pricing: During busy times of the day, prices can go up when demand is high.


Car sharing allows you to benefit from the autonomy of driving yourself, while providing easy access to rental cars. You can skip the whole checkout counter at a rental place.
Car sharing companies vary from peer-to-peer models, where you borrow a local individual’s car, to standard hourly rental models, where you drive a corporately-owned rental vehicle. Most car-sharing services offer hourly and daily rental rates. Some offer prices by the minute for quick trips.

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Things to Consider:

  • Autonomy: You can do things on your own schedule. Explore a new city without a driver waiting on you. Make as many stops as you want without waiting for a new ride. 
  • Membership fees: There are several different pricing models for car-sharing companies. Some operate more like a club, with a one-time joining fee and then monthly or annual subscription fees, on top of a charge each time you rent. Others work like a standard hourly rental.
  • Waiting periods: Some car sharing companies rely on a special membership card to unlock their vehicles. New members have to wait for this to arrive in the mail. You cannot just log in to the website or app and get set up with a car today. It takes time.


Looking to save money with your regular commute, but public transportation isn’t an option? You should look into carpooling companies. These work to match people needing to travel to the same destination. They often flourish when sponsored by a specific employer or university, where there are many people with a common destination.

Things to Consider:

  • Online payment: You don’t have to carry cash to help pay for gas.
  • Accountability: Different carpooling services have different levels of accountability. Some are simply matching you with other carpoolers and allowing you to pay. Others have an actual vetting process or require you to log in with your company or university ID instead of making a new account.
  • Saving money and the environment: You get to use the HOV lane. Gas and insurance are often included with your one-time fee.
  • Social aspects: Whether you are on a long trip or you are just doing the daily commute, you won’t be alone. For people who like to meet new people or network with people at work, this is a great opportunity.
  • Autonomy: You won’t be alone. You can’t just request to stop somewhere on the way home. Many services pre-set their trips.
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Car Sharing Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work?

Smartphones have helped carsharing and ridesharing companies flourish in recent years. Previously, you had to call and speak to an actual person to order a cab; now, you can just download an app and see a all you need to know about ride options, prices, timing, and availability in just a few seconds. Most rideshare or car share companies utilize an app or online reservations.

What are the benefits?

Car sharing, carpooling, and ridesharing can all save you money, whether that is money saved from purchasing a car and car insurance, parking (which can be exorbitant in big metropolitan areas), or splitting gas via carpool.

You can also make money as a driver with gig opportunities like Uber and Lyft.

If there are fewer vehicles being used at one time, then there are fewer emissions. This is especially the case with carpooling.

With rideshare and carpooling options, you can often use the HOV lane to save time.

How does insurance work?

With each car share and rideshare company, insurance is handled differently. For example, with Waze Carpool, the driver is responsible for insuring the vehicle, but for companies like Uber and Zipcar, the company has an insurance policy covering your ride. 

What if I need a ride for my whole family?

If you need a ride for a large group, consider using a service like UberXL or UberSUV, which offers vehicles for up to six passengers. You might also consider using a car sharing service like Turo that connects you to large vehicles that owners offer for short-term rental.

How do I know which company is right for me?

Choosing the right car sharing, rideshare, or carpool is going to depend on a couple of factors. Where you live is going to limit your choices; available services vary in different cities. Some businesses and universities will offer special plans or services to employees and university students. Take into account pricing, reviews, and personal comfort preferences to finalize your choice.

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