Sunday, December 22, 2013

Do You Know About Car-Sharing Services? - Our Review of TimeCar

Hello all. This time we’re going to take a look at TimeCar.

Our experience with TimeCar has been 100% positive. I honestly can’t think of a negative thing to say about the service. For those of you who don’t know what it is, TimeCar is a car-sharing service with several locations in Oklahoma and Texas. The service caters to individuals and businesses alike; why would you buy one car when you can have access to several?

There are four locations within Oklahoma City from which you can rent a car by the hour or for a whole day.  These locations are Midtown (opening within the week), Deep Deuce, Oklahoma City University, and the Crowne Plaza Hotel. We have been using the Deep Deuce location where you can choose from a Mini Cooper or a Ford Focus. Other locations have different vehicles, including trucks for when you need to carry things like furniture.

In order to use the service you need to sign up and pay an initial membership fee. Then, all you have to do to use a car is go online (desktop or mobile) and reserve it for whatever time of day/week you prefer, using a sleek and simple interface. If you ever need to extend your time during a trip, you can easily do that using the mobile site, given that the extended time is available. 

And get this; you don't pay for gas (a fleet gas card is included in each vehicle), no deposits for insurance, no hidden fees. All of the expenses are included in the membership and hourly rental payment. There are videos on the website that show you how to pick up/drop off your vehicle and how to use the fleet gas card to fill up for free. After using the service a couple of times, we see no reason to ever own a car again when TimeCar is available. 

Car sharing is growing in North America. I was interested to see what the impact of car sharing has been thus far on the number of cars on the road, because what is most important in achieving a walkable community is that less people are driving, and more are walking, biking, and taking transit. Car sharing seems to be effective in moving toward this goal. 

According to a study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, by 2010 car sharing had removed 90,000 to 130,000 vehicles from the roads of North America (Source)! That’s 9 to 13 vehicles per car sharing vehicle. Not only that, but the car sharing fleets on average had a 10 mpg fuel efficiency improvement over the vehicles that were replaced.  And most importantly, is the difference in average vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) between car-sharing members and non-car sharers. The average non-sharer has an annual VMT of 12,300 miles per year, while car sharers averaged 8,064 miles per year. That is 34.5% less for car sharers. And if an average driver releases 5.73 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, that means an average car sharer only releases 3.75 tons (Source). And in 2010 there were 378,000 car sharers in North America meaning an estimated reduction of 744,660 tons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere!

So, while this by no means is the solution to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, car sharing does improve upon the status quo, and significantly.

Alright, here are some photos from our TimeCar adventure. Thanks for reading!

Pick up your TimeCar at a lot like this one (Deep Deuce)!
Hold your membership card to the sensor until the green light flashes. This unlocks your car.
Elizabeth's driving this trip.
The key is attached to the console.

For the Mini Cooper, put the key in and push the ignition button (make sure to hold down the brake!)
John's having a good time at Patty Wagon, one of our favorite local burger joints.

TimeCar is particularly convenient for big grocery trips, like our visit to Sprouts.
And then return your car to where you got it, lock it the same way you unlocked it, and you're done. Easy and convenient!


  1. Very cool - I'm really enjoying y'all's blog! As a fellow downtown resident, it's so neat to see the transformation of this city, and that people can actually survive here without a car. Have to applaud you guys for committing to this! Looking forward to following you guys along on your adventures.

  2. Thanks for the comment, and thanks for keeping up with our blog! It's been a great little journey so far and we're loving the interest that people are showing. It seems like a lot of people are interested in a shift toward a walkable city here in OKC, and we're glad to help bring some awareness to that!