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8 min read

    8 min read

    Renting a rideshare vehicle can be a great option if you don’t have an eligible vehicle or if you’re just tired of putting miles on your own car. It’s a fluid market, however, as evidenced by the advent of KINTO Share, a new hourly rental platform. Senior Contributor Gabe Ets-Hokin delves in to find out what’s up with KINTO.

    doordash

    What do you do if you’re the finance arm of a huge automaker, and maybe you’re stuck with thousands of lease-return vehicles you can’t sell?

    It’s 2020, so you start a carshare company, of course!

    Welcome to KINTO Share, Toyota Motors’ carsharing venture that is coming online just in time to take over for Fair (which we’ve tested and covered, but has since unfortunately ceased operation). It seems that insurance and other costs make rideshare-leasing a tough gig.

    Well, Toyota thinks it can do it better than Fair. Here’s how KINTO works and what happens when you sign up to do it.

    Quick links:

    What is KINTO/KINTO Share?

    KINTO is a flexible carsharing service for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other gigworkers who need reliable wheels for their job.

    KINTO Share is available in (as of 3/3/20):

    • Southern California
    • Las Vegas
    • Phoenix (Scottsdale)
    • Salt Lake City

    Like most of what we do these days, it’s administered through a smartphone app. Drivers sign up with a credit card, select a pickup/dropoff location, and go get their cars.

    Unlike other Uber vehicle rentals, KINTO is priced by the hour, with an additional mileage fee, and includes all expenses: fuel, insurance, maintenance…everything. When the driver is done with their shift, they drop the car off at the pickup spot and they’re done!

    kinto share

    Like most things these days, you sign up for KINTO via the app. Are those ants or people in the picture?

    How Do I Sign Up With KINTO Share?

    It starts with downloading the app. Once that’s on your phone, you’ll need to follow directions and upload your info as directed.

    KINTO will want proof you drive for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash or Postmates. For background checks, KINTO uses Checkr, which many other gig companies use, and wants you to meet about the same standards as the other companies – decent driving record, no felonies, no reckless driving or DUI, 21 years old, driving for a year or two.

    After all your info is uploaded and you pay a $25 background-check fee, you’ll get a notice you’ve been approved, usually within 24 hours.

    You’ll get a link to a Google Drive folder (bottom) with all necessary documents needed to add the KINTO cars to your driver profile…the down side is you have to do all  the cars so you have a better chance of reserving one. There were a dozen cars at the Los Angeles location as of this writing, which means to reserve a car, you have to download and upload 48 different documents (your personalized insurance card, good for all the cars, is emailed directly to you). It will probably take hours, and it may be difficult, if not impossible to do it on a smartphone. No bueno.

     

    While you’re waiting for approval, you can start loading KINTO vehicles into your Uber and Lyft driver profiles. You do this by getting access to a Google Docs folder with the registration, inspection and insurance forms for all the vehicles at each pickup location.

    KINTO asks you to upload documents for ALL the listed vehicles and then wait for Uber/Lyft to approve each one for each driver profile! That’s because, according to Kinto Customer Support, “when you create a reservation, you will be assigned to a random vehicle, so all documents must be uploaded…so you won’t have any issues if you get assigned to any one of them.”

    KINTO probably wants you to do this so they don’t have to reserve specific cars and to make sure you don’t spend that $7-an-hour rental time uploading documents and waiting for approval. We noted similar issues when we tested Fair, as the car sometimes wouldn’t be added to the driver’s profile for days. 

    So yes, this is as tedious and time-consuming as it sounds, and there is no workaround that Kinto’s CSR knew of. When I tried to upload docs, I had some trouble getting Uber and Lyft to accept my docs and I’m not sure if it was an issue with Uber/Lyft or Kinto’s docs. 

    This onerous and clunky process is unavoidable using KINTO Share, which is unaffiliated with Uber and Lyft. Companies with Uber/Lyft partnerships (like Getaround) integrate the systems and spare drivers from these hurdles. We would like to point out that using a Kinto car for a delivery service like DoorDash is much easier; you just need to submit proof you’re signed up with one of the companies.

    kinto share

    Adding a KINTO car to the Lyft app. It ain’t easy for either Uber or Lyft! I gave up after an hour. KINTO’s customer-service response (right) wasn’t too helpful (and maybe I’m being sensitive but came off a bit snarky, if you ask me).

    How Does it Work?

    kinto share

    KINTO app screens showing search function and available cars.

    Once you’ve invested the time to sign up and assign the cars to your driver account, you can schedule your rental. To make that happen, you open the app, tap “new reservation,” set the date and time you want to work and hope an available car shows up. 

    When I did it, I found a couple of Priuses waiting for me about a week out, but nothing for the same day or the next day; availability likely varies from location to location.

    Driving works like any other car, as it’s a car. You unlock the car via the app, and bring your own charge cables, KINTO says, but a phone mount is included (I recommend having your own mount, read about our favorites here). 

    A gas-station credit card is in the car, and the driver is responsible for bringing the car back in the same condition (clean and at least 1/4 gassed up) as when they picked it up – KINTO can charge up to $1,000 for damage or other fees, so be warned. 

    The app directs you through the checkout procedure. If you need extra time, other drivers report the app charges you when your new time period starts, and extra mileage is charged when you’re done.

    What Does KINTO Share Cost?

    KINTO’s fees, like Getaround’s, are demand-sensitive. It can be as cheap as $1.50 midday, or as much as $3.50 an hour during commute hours and weekends, when it’s busiest. Mileage is always $.25 a mile – KINTO thinks you’ll average about 17 miles per hour, and there are some local taxes as well.

    When I used the app to book a dummy reservation for a Wednesday evening, it estimated roughly $6.50 an hour, about a buck or two an hour more than what you’d pay if you own your own car once you include fuel, maintenance and insurance (with $300,000 of liability coverage, if you’re wondering). 

    Friday nights will likely be about $8.50 an hour, and of course you’ll pay a lot more if you’re using Sergio’s destination filter strategy (you’ll likely still net more money, though). Also, beware of late fees! Get your car turned in on time.

    What’s clear to me is that the rideshare-rental market is merciless, with companies coming and going. We’re aware of at least a dozen options for car rental, including HyreCar, Rideshare Rental, Fair, Maven Gig, Lyft Express Drive, Hertz, fleet rentals (mostly in New York City), Getaround (in San Francisco and Los Angeles) as well as Waive Work (also just in L.A.). Get more details in our Vehicle Marketplace.

    Apple App Store reviews of KINTO; most of them are very positive–it must be easier to add the cars to your profiles than I found. Bottom review seems unfair; KINTO does not hide any fees from drivers.

    So is KINTO Share Worth Trying?

    I’d say for sure, so long as you can tolerate the time-consuming process of uploading documents for each and every car at every pickup point you want to use. It would be much nicer if you only had to upload docs for one car.

    I spent about an hour trying before I gave up – I kept getting “documents do not match the car” messages from Uber and Lyft, and KINTO’s chirpy customer-service message to “Keep trying! Everyone else can do it!” didn’t help. 

    One thing drivers mention in their reviews is how clean the cars are and how professional the KINTO staff is, which sounds better than the Getaround experience I had (missing charge cables and mounts, dirty cars, interiors that smelled like weed). 

    Renting through KINTO Share also includes gas – Getaround now makes you fill the tank before you return the car – though $.25 a mile is about $.16 cents more per mile than the cost of gas (at 40 mpg and $3.50 a gallon).

    So is it better? It really depends on the competition and your own situation. If you want the flexibility and low start-up cost of an hourly rental, KINTO may be the only game in town. Give it a try.

    Have you used KINTO? Have questions about this story? Do you have some tips, tricks or closely guarded secrets about renting a vehicle to use for rideshare of delivery driving? Sound off in the comments!

    -Gabe @ RSG

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    Gabe Ets-Hokin

    Gabe Ets-Hokin

    Gabe Ets-Hokin is a veteran transportation professional with over 50,000 trips between taxicabs, Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. He's been writing professionally about motorcycles since 2004 and got into writing about Rideshare in 2015. He lives in Oakland, CA with his wife, son and two bitter, unfulfilled cats.

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