Why own a car when you can share one?

Living car-free or car-light in San Francisco is increasingly easy — and it’s not just thanks to Uber.

Car sharing is quietly spreading throughout the city, allowing people to rent cars by the hour or mile, pick them up at widely dispersed locations, reserve them with a smartphone, and unlock them with a phone or credit card.

“Technological advances are giving people new and convenient ways to get around more freely without having to own a car,” said CalPIRG spokeswoman Diane Forte, whose consumer group recently released a report on the growth of high-tech transportation options nationwide. It found that San Francisco is a national leader in innovative ways to get around town, second only to Austin, Texas.

To support car sharing — and try to reduce car use — San Francisco is experimenting with reserving up to 900 on-street parking spaces sprinkled throughout the city for the exclusive use of car-sharing vehicles. The three companies getting spaces over the two-year pilot program, which is being phased in slowly, are City CarShare, a nonprofit; Avis’ Zipcar, perhaps the best-known service; and Getaround, a “peer-to-peer” service that helps regular people rent their cars to others… (more)

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