AAA Shifting Gears Towards Car Rental Market
Seattle chosen for pilot project slated to start in April
For years, AAA has provided its members free roadside assistance and discounted incentives for travel and life insurance. You can add a car rental program to their list of services, pending the results of its forthcoming Seattle Pilot project.
AAA’s Washington branch recently announced a partnership with GIG Car Share, an AAA subdivision in California. It offers customers their choice of 250 Toyota Prius hybrid electric vehicles for $15 an hour. The costs of gas, insurance and parking are built into the rate. The service, slated to launch in April, will enable AAA members to receive a 10 percent discount per ride. Other users who don’t have AAA membership can still use the service, although they’re not eligible for the discount.
Access Points For Vehicles
Access to the Prius cars will be via designated parking lot and curb spaces in Seattle’s HomeZone, a part of the city where these spots will exist, as determined by the AAA and the city. Anyone who needs one of the vehicles and comes across one in that zone can use an app to get access to that vehicle. The project especially hopes to attract more eco-friendly clientele and to push that point, bike racks have been installed on each Prius.
But while car rental firms pay an annual permit fee for street parking, GIG has yet to apply for one. Still, that hasn’t deterred a civic official from believing an additional service is necessary. That’s especially true in the wake of a couple ride-sharing services that recently discontinued its operations in the city.
Seattle Department of Transportation spokesperson Ethan Bergerson expressed his support for the new service. “We want people to have good options to get around [the city] without owning a car,” said Seattle Department of Transportation spokesperson Ethan Bergerson to The Seattle Times.
Seattle was chosen for the project after the latest U.S. Census data revealed that the city has experienced a drop of car ownership by three percent over the last 10 years. That’s the biggest reduction among larger cities in the country. Other cities experiencing similar phenomena include Albuquerque (-1.9 percent), Las Vegas (-0.9 percent) and Washington D.C. (-0.8 percent).
The census also revealed that Seattle was one of 11 cities among the top 50 to experience any reductions in vehicle ownership at all. While that statistic remained stable among more middle-aged car owners, other demographics, like seniors and adults under 35 indicated that ownership had slid to around 75 percent.