Father’s Day was coming up on my calendar and I knew that meant it was time to take a trip down to the Central Coast to visit my dad. I’ve been making trips like these every couple of months or so, and a while back I decided to try RelayRides as my mode of transportation.
During my first trip with RelayRides, I borrowed Caterina’s Prius, which had great gas mileage and drove very smoothly. Immediately I felt like I was doing something good for the environment by driving a Prius and borrowing a car from a neighbor rather than a rental company. But after attending a Collaborative Chats panel on car and ride-sharing, I knew I could take it a step further by using a ride-sharing service in conjunction with borrowing a car.
Enter my Zimride/RelayRides experiment. If you haven’t heard of Zimride, it’s a social network for matching individuals who have similar travel destinations and need a ride or are able to give a ride.
To list a ride, I signed up with my Facebook account, entered in where I was going, how much I would like to be paid, and a small description, and waited for the matches to pile in my inbox. I was surprised at how few matches I received in the first week, but by the time my ride came around, Zimride had matched someone to ride with me on the way down and two people to ride with me on my way back!
One might have expected the exchange to be awkward, but it was exactly the opposite! All three of the girls who rode with me were incredibly kind, sweet and easy going. All of the girls were on time when I picked them up, and by the end of the trip, I felt like I had made three new friends! The bonus was that all of the girls were really chatty, so the drive flew by!
Aside from making new friends and having company in the car, I was also able to offset a HUGE chunk of the cost of using RelayRides. I made $90 from driving 3 girls. I estimate that I could have covered the entire cost of RelayRides if I filled both of my cars for both trips!
I guess the lesson from all of this is that the sharing economy is not only good for our neighbors and our environment; it’s good for our wallets too. Getting creative with these services can help you save even more money and feel good about what you’re doing for the community too.