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As more news emerges about the harmful effects of outdoor air pollution, it's important to focus our individual efforts on what we can do to influence change in our own communities. 

Recent trends that have emerged to address this problem (among others) are ride sharing and car sharing. Within the last year alone, there have been a proliferation of apps and services designed to facilitate ridesharing, and more people (and companies) are starting to see the benefits of car sharing. Below, we've profiled a few for you to check out either at home or when you're traveling and don't want to pay for a rental car or rely on a taxi!

Note: If none of these are available in your area yet, do a quick Google search for "ride share --your city name--." You might be surprised to find that a lot of local organizations exist to match riders and drivers!

 

Sidecar - Their smartphone app matches everyday people in their own car with people nearby for shared rides. It’s a fast, safe and fun way to get around the city, meet new people and keep extra cars off the road. Unlike taxi cabs or limo services, with Sidecar you sit in the front seat, chat with your driver and even charge your phone or choose your own music. Download the iPhone version or the Android version.

Currently available in: San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C.

Features:

  • Background checks on all drivers
  • Cashless. Pay what you think is fair and it's billed to your credit card via the app
  • Know the suggested payment for a ride before you confirm it with a driver
  • Watch your ride approach on a live map
  • Robust feedback system: riders and drivers rate each other, set standards for community
  • GPS tracking of rides
  • Share your journey details with friends
  • Option to login with Facebook Connect

Extras:

Make money AND save the environment by applying to be a driver! Drivers can apply anytime, anywhere via the app or at www.side.cr/drivers

 

Lyft - A friendly, safe, and affordable transportation option. Just tap a button and in minutes you’ll be riding in the front seat with a new friend. Lyft community drivers are background checked and personality screened to offer the best ride experience in their city! 

Currently available in: San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago and Boston.

How to use it:

1) Download the application for iPhone or Android
2) Log in with Facebook (Facebook login is a safety feature that helps Lyft maintain a trusted peer-to-peer community. They will not post to your Facebook.)
3) Set your pickup location & request a Lyft
4) At your destination, make a donation and rate your driver for their effort

Extras:

Make up to $35/hour and set your own hours by becoming a Lyft driver.

 

Zimride - A simple way to find friends, classmates, and coworkers going the same way you are.

Currently available in: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, New York, Washington D.C. plus carpool solutions for corporate companies and universities in nearly every state

Features:

In seconds you can set up a profile, book a ride in your area, or post a ride of your own. With Zimride profiles, you can check out interests, music tastes, and feedback before you share a ride.

Extras:

You can apply to be a carpool driver or rider AND you can convince your company to use their corporate solution, which sets up a private, social network for ridesharing.

 

Car2GoA car2go is always a pleasure to drive: just take it, drive it, park it. Simple and straightforward. You can always find a vehicle in your area. You open it with the member card you receive after signing up. You go from A to B, park your car2go again and that's that. It's fun, saves money and helps the environment.

Currently available inAustin, San Diego, Washington D.C., Portland, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Columbus, Denver ( + many locations internationally)

Features: 

  • Book online 30 minutes before you want to drive
  • Pay a one-time signup fee of $35 + tax and .38c + tax per minute ($72.99 + tax per day maximum)
  • You only pay when you use it. No monthly fees or rental subscription packages.
  • No reservations required.
  • One-way model means there is no need to waste the time you’re paying for by returning the car to the same location that you began your trip.

 

Zipcar - The world's largest car sharing and car club service. It is an alternative to traditional car rental and car ownership.

Currently available inAtlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C. ( + many locations internationally)

Features:

  • Gas, insurance and up to 180 miles per day are included
  • Book minutes or months in advance
  • Wireless RFID entry - no having to fuss with car key exchange!
  • Mobile apps for iPhone and Android to make booking on the go a breeze
  • In addition to unlocking thousands of cars all over, your Zipcard scores you great deals on stuff you love - companies, restaurants, etc.

 

Have you used any of these services in the past or did we leave a good one off the list? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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