About Carsharing

Red Zipcar parked at a meter in Cambridge, MA

What is Carsharing?

Carsharing gives Cambridge residents a transportation option that complements the city’s robust transit, bicycling, and walking networks. Carshare members get the benefit of a private car without the cost and responsibility owning one.

How Does Carsharing work?

  • You apply for membership; once you are approved, the carshare company sends you a card that unlocks the vehicle doors and ignition. There is no need to go to a central car rental office to pick up the keys.
  • You can reserve a car online or on a smartphone.
  • You can choose from a large variety of car types, including electric vehicles, hybrids, pickup trucks, and luxury cars.
  • Reservations can be by the hour or day.
  • Insurance and gas is usually included in the rental cost.
  • Peer-to-peer carsharing allows residents to put their own cars into a carshare pool to be used by neighbors.

How Does Carsharing Support City Goals?

Carsharing is a critical tool in the city’s efforts to reduce car-dependence, traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Once residents become carshare members, they tend to change their behaviors in two important ways:

  1. They often get rid of their cars or delay buying one
  2. They drive less and use transit, bike and walk more

How Many Private Cars Does a Carshare Vehicle Take Off the Road?

National research shows that each carshare vehicle takes 9 to 13 privately owned cars off the road. That means that even if you aren’t a carshare member, you will benefit because your neighbor will be able to live without a car, which helps reduce the parking burden and traffic in residential neighborhoods.

Resources

Carshare Services That Operate in Cambridge

Classic Carshare

Peer-to-Peer Carshare

For More Information

For more information, contact Stephanie Groll at sgroll@cambridgema.gov, or 617/349-3673.