GIG Car Share is hitting the streets of Seattle.
The new free-floating car-sharing service from AAA, which announced in February that it was expanding to the city, is officially available with 250 Toyota Priuses. The move represents a return to a mobility concept in Seattle which once saw hundreds of rentable vehicles from services such as car2go, ReachNow and LimePod.
GIG — as in, get in and go — customers will be able to locate a vehicle, unlock it using a smartphone, drive it and drop it off anywhere within the designated 13-square-mile Seattle “home zone.”
Initial pricing is 40 cents per minute, $15 per hour, $55 for eight hours and $85 per day, according to AAA Washington. For a limited time, the company is waiving a $1 access fee on all trips and a $5 airport parking fee. AAA members save an additional 10 percent on every GIG trip.
GIG Car Share is also launching Gig4Good, an effort to support community organizations through free driving credits that could help enable such efforts as food delivery. In Seattle, Gig4Good will provide nearly $200,000 in driving value, or 13,000 driving hours — to nonprofit partners in June. Initial partners include Lifelong, an organization that stands up for communities facing discrimination and marginalization, and Open Arms Perinatal Services, which provides community-based support during pregnancy, birth, and early parenting.
AAA’s innovation lab A3Ventures launched GIG in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017. The service currently operates 1,000 hybrid and electric GIG vehicles in Oakland, Berkeley, and Sacramento and now Seattle. AAA says that the Seattle expansion makes it the largest free-floating car-sharing service in the nation, with 65,000 members.
Despite early success, free-floating car sharing has seen plenty of companies pull out after not being able to make the business work. Car2Go pioneered the service in North America, launching in Seattle in 2012. A few years later, competing services including BMW ReachNow and Lime’s LimePod entered the Seattle market. By the end of 2019, all three announced they would exit Seattle.
Los Angeles-based Envoy also announced an expansion to the Seattle region earlier this year. The company allows neighbors in housing developments to share an electric vehicle.