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Ithaca Carshare

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Local nonprofit Ithaca Carshare started offering 24/7 car share access in 2008. It is a membership-based program and offers access to its fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles in Ithaca through a personal member keycard.

Rather than a free-floating car-sharing service, Ithaca Carshare vehicles need to be returned to their original parking place.

Ithaca Carshare costs

  • Application fee: $40
  • Monthly or annual membership fees cover two drivers
  • Hourly rates
  • Mileage rates

Ithaca Carshare amenities

  • Gas — users are to fill when it goes below 1/4 tank with the fuel card in the car
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Cleaning
  • Permanent parking in reserved return spots

Ithaca Carshare eligibility

  • At least 18
    • Licensed for at least two full years
    • No suspensions in the last two years
    • A completely clean record
    • Have their own insurance policy
    • A waiver signed by the policyholder (you or your parent)
    • The declarations page showing your name and a liability limit of min $300,000 per accident
  • At least 21
    • No more than two accidents or moving violations in the last three years
    • No more than one distracted driving violation
    • None of the following within the last seven years
      • Vehicular manslaughter
      • Excessive speeding
      • Excessive disregard for red lights or stop signs
      • Reckless driving
      • DUI or DWI

People with a foreign driver’s license within the past two years can still apply but will need to submit driving history records. The program even offers to offset any enrollment in U.S. driving refresher courses by giving the cost of the course as a credit to your driving account ($50 max).

Keep reading for pros and cons of joining Ithaca’s unique car sharing group.

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The Good

  • Trip Options
  • Shared Membership Fee
  • Fuel-Efficient
  • Booking Options
  • Special Rates
  • 24/7 Support

Trip Options

You can use a vehicle for a maximum reservation of 10 days. You are still going to be charged mileage and hourly, although full-day rates are capped at 10 hours.

There are two different membership options, but each includes a membership fee, hourly rate, and mileage rate.

Just In Case

  • Membership fee — $6 per month or $60 per year
  • Hourly rate (weekday) — $7.95 per hour
  • Hourly rate (weekend, 5 p.m. Friday–5:00 p.m. Sunday) — $8.95 per hour
  • Hourly rate (late night, 11 p.m.–7 a.m.) — $4.00 per hour

It’s My Car

  • Membership fee — $20 per month or $300 per year
  • Hourly rate (weekday) — $4.95 per hour
  • Hourly rate (weekend, 5 p.m. Friday–5:00 p.m. Sunday) — $5.95 per hour
  • Hourly rate (late night, 11 p.m.–7 a.m.) — $2.50 per hour

Just In Case and It’s My Car mileage rates

  • Car — $0.30 per mile
  • Van — $0.32 per mile
  • Truck — $0.40 per mile

Shared Membership Fee

Prospective users should know that up to two people can share an account for no additional membership fee.

Fuel-Efficient

In addition to reducing carbon footprints by decreasing the number of cars, Ithaca also offers fuel-efficient cars, with an average of 33 MPG:

  • Toyota Prius C
  • Honda Fit
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Toyota Tacoma

Booking Options

Members can book online, in the Ithaca Carshare app, and over the phone. Few car sharing clubs offer this many flexible options.

Special Rates

The city of Ithaca is home to Cornell University. As such, it offers students as well as residents and other business groups discounted rates. These include special rates for non-profit and business organization

24/7 Support

Even though this is a small car-sharing fleet, 24/7 customer support is available by phone.

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The Bad

  • No Same-Day Sign Up
  • Station-Based Round Trip Model
  • Members 18-20
  • Insurance Deductible
  • Late Fees and Penalties

No Same-Day Sign Up

With Ithaca Carshare’s more traditional model, interested parties need to plan a bit in advance to join the club. They need to get a keycard in the mail before they can start driving.

Station-Based Round Trip Model

This program is purely based in the city of Ithaca. Cars have to be returned to their original designated parking spot. As opposed to a free-floating car share, which members can just park wherever they like within the service area to end a trip, Ithaca Carshare members need to remember that their mileage will only stop once they get the car back to the exact parking spot it came from.

Members 18–20

Insurance is only provided through Ithaca Car Share for drivers age 21 and up. While it is awesome that this car sharing group offers membership to drivers under 21, they will have to have their own personal insurance policy. The Ithaca Carshare coverage will only be secondary to their personal coverage.

Insurance Deductible

As mentioned, insurance is included for Ithaca Carshare members 21 and older. This coverage includes:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury per occurrence
  • $10,000 third party property damage.

Members are responsible for a $500 deductible and any costs over the insurance policy’s coverage. This might not be what people are expecting from a company that ‘includes’ insurance in its rates.

Late Fees and Penalties

Because it is a shared vehicle, you could be in trouble if you are late to return it when someone else has it scheduled. Charges include

  • $1 per minute with a $30 minimum if they didn’t call to notify of tardiness
  • $0.50 per minute if they called to notify that they would be late prior to reservation end.

There are several cleaning and administrative fees, normal to most car-sharing companies. These include leaving a vehicle messy inside or returning with less than a quarter tank of gas. These types of issues will cost you $30 each.

From there, there are major penalties, at the rate of $250 per instances. These include bringing pets in the car without a carrying case and smoking in the vehicle, among other infractions.

 

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The Bottom Line

This is a small-scale non-profit car-sharing service with 20+ vehicles, in just one city: Ithaca, New York. It has been around for more than a decade and has fine-tuned its offerings. Once you get past the one-time application fee, this is a really very affordable option if you need it for local trips, especially when daily rates are capped at 10 hours and two people can share one account, only paying for one membership.

Have you used Ithaca Carshare? Let us know about your experience with a quick review below.

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