Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Tue May 19 2015

Car Rental Service 'Getaround' Launches in Washington, D.C.

Car Rental & Rail | Patrick Clarke | May 19, 2015

Car Rental Service 'Getaround' Launches in Washington, D.C.

Monday marked the launch of peer-to-peer car rental service Getaround in Washington, D.C.

The new service has drawn comparisons to lodging website Airbnb as car owners are able to earn income on the side by renting out their ride (to a stranger in most cases).

According to Matt McFarland of the Washington Post, travelers can use the Getaround app to find a car, reserve and unlock it, whether it be for the minimum one hour or for multiple days.

In order to participate, Getaround must install a device in the vehicle which allows the customer to unlock the car via the app. Once inside, the customer can access the keys and be on their way. 

However the down side is that customers must return the car to the same place they picked it up and top off the gas tank. In that sense, Getaround isn't quite as convenient as Uber. 

"Vehicles are rented for at least an hour," writes McFarland. "After that, a renter is charged in 15-minute increments. Rates range from $5 to $9 an hour. Getaround takes a 40 percent cut. If you want to rent out your car, there is a $99 installation fee, and then a $20 monthly fee to be connected to the Getaround network"

In addition to providing insurance for the driver during the rental period, Getaround guarantees participating car owners will make a minimum of $1,000 over their first three months so long as owners don't raise the recommended rate more than 20 percent. 

But not everyone can join the network. Qualifying cars must have fewer than 125,000 miles and can be no older than 10 years.

Getaround, which is also available in West Coast cities like San Francisco and Portland, is launching in the nation's capital this week with fewer than three dozen cars on its platform. 

For more information on Washington DC

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