A year after its introduction to Berkeley and Oakland, GIG Carshare recently announced a significant expansion, doubling its fleet and expanding to two new cities, Alameda and Albany. At 500 cars, GIG now outnumbers Zipcar by nearly four to one within its HomeZone, crowning it the king of carsharing in the inner East Bay.
For those unfamiliar with GIG, it has been a transformative addition for East Bay residents embracing a car-free or car-light lifestyle. Unlike other carshare services, GIG cars are available on-demand for one-way or round-trips, allowing for spontaneity and flexibility. GIG cars come with gas, insurance, and free parking at on-street two-hour spaces.
GIG charges the lowest rate based on how long and how far you drive: $2.50 per mile, $15 per hour, or $85 per day. GIG particularly excels for short trips under an hour (when it is usually cheaper than Uber, Lyft, or Zipcar), as a transit extender (with designated parking spots at many BART stations in the HomeZone), and an airport transportation service (with spaces at the Park N’ Fly lot near the Oakland International Airport). GIG is also useful for day trips: each trip includes up to 250 miles in the price, and all cars are equipped with two bike racks.
GIG’s expansion to Alameda and Albany are particularly exciting given both cities’ lack of other carsharing options: Alameda has four Getaround locations, while Albany has only two Zipcars in University Village. Both cities are walkable and bikeable with decent bus service, so GIG should be a helpful addition to help reduce the need to own one or multiple cars.
A curious feature in Alameda’s HomeZone is the presence of red zones around the Park Street and Webster Street metered commercial parking areas, which restrict a GIG driver’s ability to park.
This app feature is unique to Alameda; commercial streets Oakland, Berkeley, and Albany have no GIG restrictions and seem to enjoy a high turnover rate, so it’s not clear what makes Alameda special in this regard. Hopefully the City will lift this restriction soon so that GIG drivers can more easily access restaurants and shops on the island.
Signing up for GIG takes about five minutes – just download the app and add your driver’s license and credit card information. New members can sign up with codes Albany50 or Alameda 50 for $50 in free driving credit.