AAA launches its own app-based car sharing service

Gig lets you drop off your car at public parking spots.


Few companies connected to the auto industry can resist the allure of starting their own car sharing service, it seems. After a brief tease, AAA's venture wing has launched Gig, an app-centric car sharing service, in Berkeley and Oakland. You pull out your phone to rent a car like you would with rivals services like Zipcar, at rates of $2.50 per mile, $15 per hour or $85 per day. However, there's a bit of a twist. You don't have to find a special point to drop your car off -- Gig has made deals with its host cities to let you drop your car off at any metered parking space or public parking lot. If you'd rather not take a detour just to end your trip at an approved location, you might not have to.

Gig is also promising to be particularly helpful if you're fond of mass transit. There will be at least two parking spots near every BART train station, as well as a drop-off point inside Oakland International Airport.

This isn't exactly a large-scale debut (Gig is still aiming for an expansion to San Francisco), but it illustrates just how eager car-related companies are to get into transportation services. AAA, like other firms, no doubt sees personal car ownership on the decline in the long run. Gig lets it diversify beyond roadside assistance and other products built on the assumption that you own what you're driving. AAA may still have to grapple with self-driving cars (why rent when cars can always show up on demand?), but this is at least a step in the right direction.