At Burt Brothers’ auto repair and tire shops, we’re devoted to keeping your car running in top condition, but there are times when you need to draw on other vehicles—whether through ride sharing or renting a car—and that’s the topic of today’s blog.
Ride-sharing is a relatively new concept in the transportation world, and it offers a new alternative to both taxis and renting a car. If you’ve ever wondered whether ride-share or renting is the better option, we’ve put together a list of factors to consider before you make a decision.
Something that’s not far from everyone’s minds nowadays is the topic of health and safety. Coronavirus has touched just about every facet of everyday life with its spiky little head. From birth to death, weddings to adoptions, music concerts to elementary school – there are seemingly no day-to-day activities that haven’t been reevaluated or redefined altogether.
So how should health influence your choice between ride-sharing or renting? While many ride-share drivers are taking the necessary precautions to keep things clean (requiring masks, hand sanitizer free-flowing, little to no air conditioning or windows down, and plexiglass separating the front from the back seat), there isn’t a safety standard across all drivers. Basically, you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit. So while many – it’s even safe to say most – drivers are making safety a priority, the bottom line is that you’re still getting into a confined space with a stranger who hasn’t told you his or her recent health history. The one thing that is in ride-sharing’s favor, however, is the fact that all scheduling and payment is done through the app, so there isn’t any face-to-face exchange of paperwork or money.
With renting, there isn’t the same level of potential exposure, though there is still some risk. Car rental companies are stepping up their game to sanitize each vehicle, but the nature of the disease is that it is airborne and can stick around for a while before dying off (some studies say a few days). You will still need to be ultra-careful with avoiding touching your face or mouth while you drive as well as sanitizing your hands before and after you are in the car.
Cost is a tricky thing to assess because everyone’s trip is so different. With ride-sharing, you are only paying for what you need, when you need it, so if you’re planning on sticking close to your hotel and most everything is in walking distance, you could save hundreds of dollars over a week. Additionally, you don’t have to pay for parking, which can add up really fast depending on your location.
With renting, you have the daily fee, but you also might have to pay for parking, additional insurances, gas, mileage fees, additional driver fees, and other hidden fees. If you don’t read the fine print, you could get saddled with a lot of extra charges that can take a serious bite out of your wallet (and your good mood).
Convenience is a huge factor that you need to consider as you make your travel plans. Ride-sharing can be very convenient if you live in a large city with a lot of drivers. It can also be mighty convenient if you want to go have a night on the town but you don’t want to worry about finding a place to park or appointing a designated driver. The downside to ride-sharing is that you have to plan a little in advance and order a car before you’re ready so that you’re not left waiting around after the rest of your party has left. Additionally, in peak hours or certain locations, there might not be any drivers available, which can be frustrating and extremely inconvenient if you have some place to be.
Renting a car is probably more convenient in the moment, especially if you’re planning on driving to several locations while on your trip. When you have a car available at all times, you can be spontaneous and drive to the local Denny’s at 2:00 a.m. or hit the road after your conference to explore a nearby national park. It is incredibly convenient not to have to rely on anyone when you are itching to get a breath of fresh air. The inconvenient thing to consider is all of the planning and prep work that you have to do prior to pick-up. Scouring the internet for good deals, signing contracts, remembering to fill up before you drop it off at the end of your trip – all of these extra steps can be pretty inconvenient. Add to that the fact that you need to be careful to inspect the car’s lights, brakes, and tires and be extra cautious when you’re driving so that you don’t get any dents or dings. (For more info on inspecting your rental, check out this blog post.)
Even if you’re a fantastic driver, traveling in a new place can be a little nerve-racking due to the different styles of the local drivers and varying speed limits, laws, customs, and traffic conditions (roundabouts, stop-and-go traffic, one-way streets, etc.). Not only that, but if the terrain around you is rough or the weather is inclement, and you don’t have the skills to drive in it, things could get downright dangerous. In this regard, ride-sharing is the way to go because the local drivers should know how to drive safely in any of the local conditions.
On the flip side, riding in someone else’s car that you don’t know can be cause for some significant anxiety, too. Not only are the driver’s skills and driving temperament unknown before you hop in, but you might also be uncomfortable with the idea of spending any time in close proximity with a stranger. If that is the case with you, renting a car is the better option.
The long and short of the ride-share vs. renting debate is this: you have to go with what you’re comfortable with. There isn’t a right or wrong answer, so you will have to weigh the pros and cons for your particular circumstance before you make a decision that works best for you.