What’s the Difference Between Ride Sharing, Car Rental, and Car Sharing?

Need a car but confused by all the options? Do you need the car for days, hours, or one event? Do you want to schedule and pay for the car ahead of time or do you want to be able to keep a more flexible schedule? Asking yourself these questions will help you choose the option that’s best for you. The right choice will help you get where you need to go and back stress free. Not sure which is the right choice for you? Check out the details below to steer you in the right direction.

Ride Sharing

A ride share “is an arrangement between a vehicle owner and a person who enters a pickup location and destination through an app or website, for a fee”. Ride sharing provides a customer with a ride, not a car. In that way, ride sharing is like hailing a taxi except rider sharers call a ride share company to pick them up. Uber and Lyft are examples of ride share companies. Individuals can also ride share. The concept of ride sharing is based on car pooling, when people going to the same location at the same time share a car and expenses.

You should choose ride sharing if:

  • You need a car, but you don’t want to drive
  • You’re going somewhere once for a short period of time, not using the car all day
  • You’d like to share the ride with other people
  • You’re not sure where you’re going or there’s no parking

Car Rental

What is a car rental company? Car rental companies are designed to provide cars to drivers who need them for a certain amount of time. Car rentals are for drivers who need a vehicle for days, weeks, or even months. Ever been on vacation and didn’t have your own car? You may have rented a car. The driver rents the vehicle at a particular location — often located in or near an airport, bus station, or train stop– and must return the car to that specific location.

Renting a car generally involves contacting the car rental company, requesting, and paying for the car ahead of time. If you fail to request the car ahead of time, your schedule changes, or your flight is late, the car you wanted may no longer be available. Car rental companies also often have unadvertised fees, such as “young driver” fees, interstate travel fees, and if you have car insurance, they will usually ask you to pay extra for theirs. If you need a car for week, renting a car may be the right choice for you, especially if you’re visiting from out of town and returning the car to the airport on the way to your plane is not a hardship.

You should choose car rental if:

  • You’re on vacation or in a place you aren’t familiar with and don’t have access to a vehicle or bus
  • You need the car for longer than 24 hours
  • You’re over 21, have insurance, and a good driving record
  • You won’t have a problem returning the car to the specific location where you picked it up
  • You won’t have a problem requesting and paying for the car weeks ahead of time

Car Sharing

Car sharing differs from car renting. The biggest difference between car sharing and car rental is how long the driver needs the car. Car rental companies rent cars for more than 24 hours, while car sharing companies generally rent cars for shorter periods of time, such as by the hour. Some have special deals to rent the car for a certain number of hours.

Car sharing is usually more flexible than renting a car. The driver doesn’t need to request the car weeks ahead of time or stick to a specific schedule. Cars might be shared by the individual who owns them or by a commercial business. Car sharing businesses are usually not in airports, but their locations are spread out across a city. The car does not need to be returned to a specific location either, but to any location maintained by the car sharing company across the city. Car sharing is more convenient than using public transportation because there are no schedules to stick to; the driver makes their own schedule. Car sharing is useful for those who need to go to a doctor, a furniture store, the grocery store, an amusement park, etc.

You should choose car sharing if:

  • You need a car for less than 24 hours
  • You don’t have a car of your own
  • Your car is in the shop
  • You will be carrying packages that make using the bus difficult
  • A bus does not go where you need to go when you need to get there
  • You want the freedom to return the car to various convenient locations

Looking for a car sharing company that takes sustainability seriously? Become a BlueLA powered by Blink Mobility, member today. It is a smarter, greener transportation option in Los Angeles, improving the community and environment one ride at a time. BlueLA powered by Blink Mobility car sharing provides members with fully electric vehicles for their everyday needs. Clean and convenient EVs can be picked up and dropped off at 40 locations around the city, making the need for your own car the old way of getting around. Check out Blink Mobility for our package deals that make using our cars for the day less expensive than ever.


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