RelayRides connects people who need a car with their neighbors who own a car, in order to borrow that car for as little as $5/hour.
It's a win-win-win...win! situation.
The borrower wins - because it's free to sign up, it's super cheap ($5/hour includes gas!), and it's crazy convenient.
The lender wins - because he makes money for doing nothing (ie. lending out his car when it would have been just sitting idle anyway)!
RelayRides wins - because they get a small piece of the cake (15%) to cover their costs for managing this awesome system.
And let's add another "win" into that combination, because best of all, a study done at UC Berkeley showed that car-sharing reduces the number of vehicles on the road (i.e. people decide not to buy a car when they sign up to car-share) - which makes total sense, AND...car-sharing lowers emissions because when people car-share instead of owning a car, they make different choices about transport, ie. they decide to walk, bike or take public transport instead of taking a car unnecessarily.
Lenders and borrowers alike can sleep well at night, because RelayRides has an $1,000,000 insurance policy to cover any damages that may occur during a reservation. Phew!
Ideally, we should just get rid of cars all-together. Which could be possible in very densely-populated cities (Paris' mayor Bertrand Delanoie dreams of car-less Paris, which I believe could one day happen). But let's face it - especially in most US cities, cars will not go away anytime soon. And they are really convenient sometimes.
RelayRides currently operates in San Francisco and the Boston area and has 3000 members sharing 200 cars. They plan to expand around the US and hopefully overseas, especially to China and India. As Shelby Clark, RelayRides founder puts it, "it could be a disaster for everybody if the middle class in India and China adopt an American model of car ownership".