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Need a Ride? You Have Options

Getting Around Options for the Carless

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Getting around has gotten so much easier for those without cars.

If you can't or don't want to drive anymore, there are options to getting where you want to go besides public transportation. Ride-hailing and peer-to-peer services have taken some of the sting out of giving up the car keys.

Popular ride-booking options such as Uber and Lyft, which act as a taxi for hire by connecting riders with drivers, have opened up access to transportation for the carless. After downloading the company's app to your smartphone and registering your name, address and credit card, you can order your ride. No cash is exchanged with the driver; charges are applied directly to your credit card.

Half of all Americans (51 percent) are familiar with these services but have not used them, according to the Pew Research Center. Only 4 percent of Americans 65 and older have done so. But they're a viable alternative for many older adults who need transportation — and at least one company has that in mind.

A new kid on the ride-hailing block is the startup GoGoGrandparent, which allows you to connect to Uber or Lyft by just making a phone call — no smartphone app necessary. Cofounder Justin Boogaard was living with his grandmother when she saw him using Uber frequently and wanted to use it herself. When he explained that she couldn't summon a ride without a smartphone, she suggested he create a company that would allow people without smartphones to use the on-demand car service, too. He did, opening access to Uber and Lyft to his grandmother and millions of other Americans.

Still driving, but want to ditch the expense of owning a car? Car-sharing may be the way to go. Among your choices:

  • Car2go offers one-way car sharing. Rent a tiny Smart Fortwo by the minute, hour or day. You drive from point A to point B; there's no need to return the vehicle where you picked it up.
  • Getaround offers thousands of cars from $5 an hour and up. These locally owned vehicles are shared by people in an area of service. There are no membership, monthly or annual fees; insurance and 24/7 roadside service are included.
  • Turo is another peer-to-peer car-sharing service. Enter your travel dates, search the database and select from locally owned cars. Some owners will even deliver the car to your doorstep.
  •  Zipcar, which has more than 1 million members, offers vehicles billable by the hour, day or week. Zipcar members have automated access to their vehicles via a card or smartphone, which unlocks the door. The keys are inside.

Cheryl Bond-Nelms is an online producer for AARP Media.