A new car sharing program is launching in Evanston today that’s designed to let individual car owners rent their idle cars to other drivers through an online service.

The service is being provided by a San Francisco-based startup called Getaround, and it’s facilitated by a two-year, $475,000 federal research grant to the Center for Neighborhood Technology that’s being implemented by the Shared-Use Mobility Center.

In addition to Evanston, the program will operate in four Chicago neighobrhoods, Bridgeport, Bronzeville, Pilsen and Rogers Park.

Evanston resident Sharon Feigon, the executive director of the Shared-Use Mobility Center, previously worked for CNT and was chief executive of IGO, a nonprofit car-sharing service in the Chicago area which CNT sold in 2013 to Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

IGO, like its competitor ZipCar, bought a fleet of vehicles to rent to members, rather than crowd-sourcing the vehicle supply.

Feigon says the new program is designed to test different models for car sharing in communities with different economic characteristics — ranging from low to moderate income communities in the city to more suburban areas like Evanston.

She said Getaround until now has mainly focused on millenials in the tech community, “but we think there is a much broader range of people who could benefit from this.”

“We’ll also be surveying people about their use to better understand how it works and whether it actually leads to some people selling their cars, whether it reduces carbon dioxide emissions and vehicle miles traveled.

“This has the potential to be a really sound way to go about providing access to cars, which sit idle so much of the time now,” she added.

Getaround claims that a car owner can make as much as $10,000 a year by renting out a vehicle and that renters can get a car to use when they need one for as little as $5 an hour.

It promises to provide insurance for the vehicles when they’re in rental use and to handle screening of renters. It uses a mobile app that lets renters unlock cars through a security tracking device installed in each vehicle.

As of this morning there were no cars listed for rent in Evanston on the Getaround website, but backers of the program hope that will change soon.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Are we still in good hands?

    I'm interested to hear how an individual's insurance agent views this concept.  Any of you professional agents care to comment?

    1. Different Insurer’s will have their own response

      Insurance agents do sales. They do not necesarily understand the policy at this level of detail.  It would be a good idea to contact your insurance company and ask them if using your vehicle in a car-sharing program like this would affect either you eligibility for coverage from them, or your price.  It is important that you get their answer in writing. 

  2. Stick Shift

    How do they guarantee that the person who rents my car already knows how to drive stick shift & won't burn up the clutch?  I looked briefly at the website but didn't see anything.

    I'd love to see something like this for motorcycles, as they are already pretty much the same transmission.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *