We all are feeling the pinch of the continued economic recovery. Some consumers have found a way to increase their income by renting out their car during times it would otherwise remain parked. Car sharing services have been around for a few years. RelayRides is the first national car sharing company and the only one that partners with General Motor’s OnStar. The OnStar service relies on voice and data communication, as well as location information using GPS tracking technology. For OnStar subscribers, it includes a feature that can unlock the door in case keys are locked inside. This is the part of the service that RelayRides has tapped into, to enhance its car sharing program.
Unlike other car sharing service providers that require the renter and owner to exchange keys, RelayRides can unlock an OnStar-enabled vehicle for the renter. Renters confirm their reservation with a smart phone. For renters without a smart phone, s/he can confirm the reservation by replying to a text message.
Using OnStar means that the vehicle owners do not have to install aftermarket hardware either in order to enable their vehicle for renting. This makes RelayRides a more convenient, safer way to rent out one’s vehicle.
Another concern for vehicle owners renting out their car is insurance coverage for the vehicle while being driven as a rental. RelayRides provides all vehicle owners with a $1 million insurance policy for owners for the duration of the rental and a $300,000 policy for renters.
Shelby Clark, RelayRides founder and chief community officer believes that “The sheer number of vehicles eligible for the program allows us to greatly expand across the U.S. and introduce the economic, environmental and community benefits of car sharing to regions that car sharing services have previously been unable to serve.”
Actual availability of RelayRides OnStar-enabled vehicles depends on the quantity of idle vehicles enrolled in the program in each location. Using OnStar’s GPS tracking technology, RelayRides can easily locate an available vehicle for rent.
OnStar is available in Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac models.