No Car. No Problem. Try one of these car-sharing apps to get around (or outta) town.

We look at how Zipcar and Turo compare to traditional rental car companies. 

by Lindsay Patross
July 16, 2020

Summer 2020 is the summer of the road trip. Thanks to COVID-19, most people have had to cancel their big summer travel plans. Many folks are looking to plan getaways within a short drive of Pittsburgh.

But how do you get out of town if you don’t have a car? Here is our guide to the car-sharing services available in Pittsburgh.

Zipcar: On-demand car rental by the day or by the hour

Car-sharing pittsburgh

I’ve been a Zipcar member for years. When I didn’t have a car, back in the days before Uber and Lyft, Zipcar was the perfect solution for when I needed to go somewhere that wasn’t easy to get to with public transportation. I still have a Zipcar membership because it is a great way to rent a minivan or truck if I need to move something. I’ve also used Zipcar in other cities. Last summer I was in San Francisco. I only needed the car for a few hours to drive up to see the redwoods. Rather than renting a car at the airport and paying to park it every day, we grabbed a Zipcar that was a few blocks away, used it for the day and returned back to the spot, for way less than the cost of a rental car.

Zipcar cost: 

  • Zipcar membership: $7/month or $70/year
  • Car rental rates: From $9/hr and $72.50/day

How does using a Zipcar work:

  • Sign up for a Zipcar membership
  • Use the Zipcar App or Zipcar website to book a car
  • Use the Zipcar App to unlock the Zipcar
  • Keys are always kept inside the Zipcar

A few things to know about Zipcar:

  • Gas is included in the hourly or daily rental. Each Zipcar has a gas card inside.
  • You can choose what you want to drive – from sedans to minivans, there are lots of different cars to choose from in Pittsburgh.
  • Need to move something? Rent a minivan from Zipcar and fold down the seats, it’s faster and cheaper than renting a truck from uHaul.

Turo: Airbnb for Cars

Similar to Airbnb, Turo is a platform that lets car owners rent their cars to others. (TuroGo lets you unlock the car through an app. We were not able to find any cars in Pittsburgh that offer TuroGo.)

One of the benefits of Turo is the wide selection of cars, way more than you would find on a rental car lot. In Pittsburgh, some of the cars currently available on Turo include a Tesla, a Corvette and a Range Rover.  Turo even has some cars with manual transmission.

This 2009 BMW convertible is available to rent on Turo for $69/day

Currently, there are 29 cars available on Turo in and around Pittsburgh. Everything from a 2009 Lincoln Town Car ($28/day) to a 2019 Range Rover Velar ($228/day). Each car owner offers different options from delivery and included mileage. Some car owners offer extras like prepaid gas, cleaning and even picnic basket or stroller rentals.

Of the 29 listed – 10 had never been rented before. The other cars had rentals and most had positive reviews of the car host. It looks like there are 3 All-Star Hosts in the Pittsburgh area.

I have not personally rented a car from Turo, but I checked in with a few friends who have used the service in pre-COVID times and had a good experience.

How does renting a car through the Turo platform work:

  • Create a Turo account – it may take up to 24 hours for your verification to be approved
  • Choose the car you would like to book
  • Book the car
  • Meet the hosts and pick up the car

Turo costs: 

  • Car rentals through the Turo platform in Pittsburgh range from $42 – $500+/Day

Zipcar or Turo? Which car-sharing app to choose?

It really depends on what kind of trip you are planning.

Need a car for a few hours to pick up something at Ikea – Zipcar is probably the way to go.

If you want to take a Tesla for a test drive or cruise around town in a Corvette, then Turo might be your best.

What is the best rental car for a weekend getaway from Pittsburgh?

One of the reasons I wanted to write about car sharing is I know many people are looking to get away without taking a plane trip. We’ve been working on several stories about places you can go for a trip that are a short drive from Pittsburgh.

ICYMI, check out our story on the Getaway Cabins in Lisbon, Ohio. Just an hour from Pittsburgh, these tiny houses offer all the fun of the outdoors, with modern conveniences like refrigerators and bathrooms.

Here is a cost breakdown on a rental car to get you to and from the Getaway Cabin (a 50-mile drive from Downtown Pittsburgh):

car sharing pittsburgh

For a weekend trip – a traditional rental car is the most affordable option.

Rental Car Locations in the city of Pittsburgh

If you are looking to save some money, avoid picking up a rental car at the airport.

Enterprise, Avis and Budget have locations around the city. Please note that the hours at the non-airport locations are limited.

Enterprise: Downtown, Bloomfield, Homestead, Verona, Greentree, Brookline,

Avis/Budget: Downtown, Oakland, Penn Hills, Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, Castle Shannon, McCandless, Cranberry

Want to explore on 2 wheels?

Scoobi – an electric-powered moped (rideshare) program. Available to use via their mobile app in Pittsburgh. Photo: Pat Hogan

Did you know Pittsburgh has a scooter sharing service? Check out our guide to using Scoobi for details on how you can scoot around town.

Header photo: You can rent this Tesla Model S from Turo for $149/day

Pittsburgh born and raised, Lindsay has been writing about the people who love Pittsburgh since 2008.

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