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Carsharing Frequently Asked Questions

How Carsharing Works - orange carsharing streetsign on pole

What is carsharing?

Carsharing is a service that provides a network of cars that are rented by minute, hour, or day. Carsharing provides the mobility of a car without the expense of car ownership.

Carsharing services are generally accessed from a mobile app on a mobile phone.

Why should I use carsharing?

Carsharing can, especially when used in conjunction with public transportation, walking, or bicycling, reduce or eliminate the need for owning a personal vehicle.

By reducing car ownership, carsharing reduces the total number of cars parked on the street. This creates more parking, especially in residential areas, as multiple neighbors can share a single car rather than each neighbor owning and parking their own private vehicle.

Carsharing provides access to a car without the high cost of car ownership. This lower cost of entry to using a car allows for greater mobility for everyone, regardless of income.

Carsharing also reduces local emissions, which contributes to a healthier environment and better air quality.

What is the difference between reserved-space carsharing and point-to-point carsharing?

Reserved-space carsharing, also known as traditional or two-way, is a round-trip carsharing service. A reserved-space carsharing car is picked up from and dropped off in the space reserved for that car.

Point-to-point carsharing allows customers to pick up a vehicle at one location and drop it off at another. Using the point-to-point carsharing model, you can drive one way and leave the car at your destination for the next person to use.

How many carsharing companies currently operate on-street in the District?

Car2Go and Free2Move are operating point-to-point carsharing programs on-street in the District.

Zipcar is operating a reserved-space carsharing program on-street in the District.

How do I sign up?

Complete a membership application online on the company’s website.

Do I pay for gas and insurance?

Gas, maintenance, insurance, and the rental fee are included in the price of the vehicle rental. Contact service providers for further details and pricing.

Where are the cars located?

Carsharing vehicles are located throughout Washington, DC. Zipcar vehicles are in designated reserved spaces. Car2Go and Free2Move vehicles are where they were last dropped off. The location of all carsharing vehicles are shown in their respective mobile apps.

Where can I park my carsharing vehicle?

When running errands throughout the District, carsharing vehicles must be parked in legal parking spaces.

Carsharing vehicles under a public space permit may be parked in RPP zones for up to 24 hours and metered spaces longer than the posted time limit. These vehicles display a Carsharing Vehicle Permit on the front windshield. This access to the curb allows these vehicles to be shared in an efficient way.

Reserved-space carsharing vehicles must be returned to the location they were picked up from at the end of the trip. These spaces are clearly marked with “No Parking Except Carshare Vehicle” signs and stencils to ensure that the space is there for when you return from your trip.

Point-to-point vehicles can generally be dropped off in any legal NON-RUSH HOUR residential or metered parking space within the District of Columbia.

Contact service providers for specific parking details.

Can I park my carsharing vehicle in any carsharing spot?

No. Each reserved-space carsharing vehicle has its own designated parking space. Only the carsharing vehicle designated to park in that space should park there. If you are using the vehicle, you will be responsible for parking it legally. Contact service providers for specific parking details.

What happens if I need assistance with the vehicle?

Carsharing companies offer 24-hour customer service. If you need assistance with the vehicle, please contact your service provider for help.

How does carsharing affect parking in my neighborhood?

Carsharing membership is a good idea for a lot of people – but maybe not for everyone. Some people who feel that carsharing is not a good option for them wonder whether carsharing will make it more difficult for them to park in neighborhoods where parking is already scarce.

Good news! Many members of carsharing services sell a car they own or avoid purchasing a car that they planned to buy. DDOT is confident that carsharing will reduce the total number of vehicles in congested neighborhoods and make parking easier for everyone - whether they use carsharing or not.

Think about the bus stops in your neighborhood. Cars are not allowed to park there. But because bus service makes it possible for so many people to use transit and avoid car ownership, bus stops free up more parking spaces than they consume.

I have more questions, who can I contact?

Glad you asked. goDCgo, DDOT’s one-stop shop for transportation information, can help! Email [email protected] or call 202-299-2186 during business hours to get your questions answered.

If you have specific questions about DDOT’s On-Street Carsharing Program, please contact DDOT at [email protected].