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AAA Washington launches GIG Car Share in Seattle

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Adrian Florez
/
KNKX

Free-floating car shares aren't quite dead in Seattle. Last year, LimePod and ReachNow announced they were leaving. Car2Go will be gone by the end of this month. But AAA Washington, undeterred by the other companies' failures in the city, is launching GIG Car Share in Seattle this spring.

GIG Car Share President Jason Haight says the company expects to have 250 Toyota Prius cars with blue bike racks on Seattle streets sometime in April. A permit with the City of Seattle still has to be finalized. GIG Car Share has been operating in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2017.

It's considered a free floating  share because you pick up the car, drive it and then park it just about anywhere in the city as long as it's in a legal parking spot. Some car shares, such as Zipcar, are picked up and returned to the same location.

AAA Washington President Kirk Nelson says when he heard that other car shares were pulling out of Seattle, he saw it as an opportunity.

"There are about 100,000 folks that are stranded because other car shares have departed the market and we think we can step in and fill that void," Nelson said.

He said AAA Washington, as a known brand for emergency car service with an in-house, 24-hour call center, is in a good position to succeed when it comes to customer service. The company also is offering a 10 percent discount to AAA members who use the car share.

The City of Seattle is positive about another car share service trying to make a go of it. Ethan Bergerson, with the Seattle Department of Transportation, said you expect companies to come and go when you're trying out new things like bike or car shares. Uber's Jump is the only bike share still operating in the city.

 

"Our real goal is to make sure people have lots of good options, because the more options you have to get around without owning a car the more sustainable city we can be," he said.

 

GIG Car Share prices will be comparable to other free-floating shares that have operated in Seattle. Haight says cost will be 40 cents per minute, $15 an hour or $85 by the day.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.