Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about HOURCAR
How does HOURCAR work?
You pick a plan and submit an application. We’ll process it in 1-3 business days, ensure all drivers meet the qualifications for membership, and send you a Metro Transit Go-to card or HOURCAR access fob that you’ll use to scan in and out of the cars. Once you’re approved, your HOURCAR membership gives you access to our entire fleet of vehicles located at hubs across the Twin Cities and Rochester. You reserve a car online, pick it up from its designated hub, and drop it off at the same hub when you’re done. You share the cars with other members, so you’ll probably become familiar with how they set their mirrors and what radio stations they listen to. Please leave at least ¼ of a tank of gas for the next user, pick up your trash, and take your stuff with you. Don’t forget to turn off the lights. There’s a gas card in the glove box if you need to fill up, and we’ll credit you for your time spent at the pump. If you have any questions or run into trouble, please contact us.
How do I download the HOURCAR app?
Happy to help! Additional information HERE.
How do I use my Metro Transit GoTo card?
Don’t plan on using the HOURCAR app? No problem! Additional information HERE on how to use your Metro Transit GoTo card.
Who can be a member?
All drivers on a plan must meet the complete qualifications for membership. All members must be at least 18 years old, hold a valid driver’s license, have at least one (1) year of fully licensed driving experience, and have had no major traffic violations in the past three (3) years and no violations related to drugs and/or alcohol in the past seven (7) years.
Members 21 and older with at least three (3) years of licensed driving experience may have no more than one (1) minor traffic violation in the past 18 months and no more than two (2) minor traffic violations in the past three (3) years.
Members under 21 and/or members with less than three (3) years of licensed driving experience must have no minor or major traffic violations on their record.
Do you offer one-way rentals?
No. Members must return Hourcars back to the same hubs where they picked them up.
Where are the cars located?
Hourcars are stationed at designated hubs in our service areas. Many are placed in public parking ramps, local businesses, credit unions, and grocery stores. Our most successful hubs are in urban areas with lots of people, good connections to public transit, and limited parking—like the downtown cores, college campuses, and medium-to-high-density neighborhoods. Review the hub map for your service area to find an Hourcar near you.
Can I reserve an Hourcar in another city?
Your HOURCAR membership allows you to make reservations on any available vehicle in our fleet. Members who joined in the Twin Cities can make reservations on vehicles in Rochester and vice versa; however, all Hourcars must be returned to their designated hub at the end of their trip.
Can I use HOURCAR for Delivery/Ride-Hail/Rideshare Services?
No, there are certain laws that require vehicles to be inspected and have proper insurance, which we do not carry. A Transportation Network Company (TNC) includes ride-hailing, ridesharing, and other “gig economy” services such as food and grocery deliveries.
If you are performing these services in an Hourcar, your membership will be revoked and you will be held responsible for any applicable fees.
Who cleans the cars?
Members should clean up after themselves and take care of their trash at the end of a reservation. If you take an especially long or dirty trip, you can buy a car wash at the pump with the included gas card or pay for it yourself and email us a copy of the receipt to credit the cost to your HOURCAR account. Getting a car wash is never required, but it’s always appreciated.
We send our fleet team to give the cars a good cleaning on a rotating basis. You’re sharing the car with other members, so you might find a few crumbs in it. In general, we clean Hourcars much more frequently than most people clean their own cars.
Who pays for gas?
We pay for gas. All cars have HOURCAR gas cards in the glove compartment with the sign-in pad and instructions on how to use them. We give members a $4 credit when they put more than 5 gallons in the tank.
We ask that you leave your HOURCAR with enough gas for the next member. If the tank is under ¼ full at the end of your reservation, you are required to fill it. If you leave a car with less than ¼ tank of gas, there is a $25 fee.
How does insurance work?
Insurance is included with your membership. HOURCAR members are covered by our comprehensive policy, with no out-of-pocket costs for all “not-at-fault” damages; however, if you cause “at-fault” damage to an HOURCAR, you will be assessed a damage fee of up to $2,000 to cover the cost of repairs—unless you have a valid damage fee waiver.
What is a damage fee waiver?
Using a Damage Fee Waiver
A damage fee waiver can be used to waive a member’s damage fee for an incident that results in “at-fault” vehicle damage to an HOURCAR. HOURCAR members are covered by a comprehensive insurance policy, with no out-of-pocket costs for all “not-at-fault” damages to HOURCARS. Purchasing a damage fee waiver does not affect this insurance coverage; however, if you cause “at-fault” damage to an HOURCAR, you will be assessed a damage fee of up to $2,000 to cover the cost of repairs—unless you have a valid damage fee waiver.
Example A: You are driving an HOURCAR while distracted and you rear-end another car at a stoplight. You are at-fault for the accident, and you will be assessed a damage fee up to $2,000. You can either pay the fee in full or apply a valid damage fee waiver to nullify the damage fee in its entirety.
Example B: A distracted driver rear-ends you in your HOURCAR at a stoplight. You are not-at-fault for the accident, and all damages are covered by insurance at no cost to you.
To apply a damage fee waiver to at-fault vehicle damage, you must contact us to report the damage within 24 hours of an incident. You may then re-enroll in the program by purchasing a new damage fee waiver to cover you until your PLUS plan renews. A new damage fee waiver costs $5 for one month and is valid for up to 30 days.
We strongly recommend that all members purchase a damage fee waiver via a PLUS plan. Accidents don’t happen often, but they’re almost always expensive. Seriously, it’s a good idea.
Purchasing a Damage Fee Waiver
New Members can purchase a damage fee waiver by choosing any of our PLUS plans during signup. The cost of the damage fee waiver is included in your PLUS plan membership fee. The damage fee waiver will become valid immediately after it has been charged to your account. Damage fee waivers are non-refundable.
Existing Members can switch to a PLUS plan by logging in to your account, or by contacting us at email@example.com or (612) 343-2277 to switch your account to a PLUS plan. The damage fee waiver will become valid exactly 24 hours after the PLUS membership takes effect. Damage fee waivers are non-refundable.
Automatic Waiver Renewal
Damage fee waivers are non-refundable. PLUS plans will automatically renew 30 days after enrollment. You can opt-out of automatic renewal by changing your membership to a standard plan or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (612) 343-2277.
What types of vehicles do you have?
We have a variety of vehicles, the majority seating 5 people. From hatchbacks to pickup trucks, you can see what is available by checking out our map (above).
Questions about reservations
How long or short can I make a reservation?
The minimum length for a reservation is 30 minutes, and the maximum length is 72 hours. Reservations can be made in 15 minute increments within that time-frame.
Can I reserve an Hourcar for a whole day?
Yes. Daily rates vary by plan and will apply automatically when it is the cheaper option for the amount of time you reserve. Daily rates don’t need to be exactly 24 hours. Just reserve the car for when you need it, and we’ll automatically bill you for whichever rate is cheaper—daily or hourly.
How far can I drive in an Hourcar?
You can drive as far as you want during your reservation; however, you cannot take an Hourcar outside of the United States. Mileage charges vary by plan and are typically $0.40 per mile. Some plans and daily rates include 100 free miles per reservation.
Can I change or cancel a reservation?
You can extend or cancel your reservation for free up until 15 minutes before it starts. If you need to change the start time or shorten your reservation, you can cancel the existing trip and re-make it, or give us a call for assistance.
If you are actively on a trip and are returning early, you can give us a call before your reservation ends to shorten your trip. You will be billed for the full reservation time if you don’t contact us before you end.
We want to encourage members to reserve cars for the time they need them, but we understand that things happen and plans change. If you’re running late, in most cases it’s not a problem to extend your reservation online or over the phone; however, you may not be able to extend your reservation if another member has a reservation immediately after yours.
What if I'm running late?
It happens sometimes. If you’re running late and won’t make it back by the end of your reservation, we can help! Please call us at (612) 343-2277 as soon as you realize you might be late. Most of the time we can simply extend your reservation. If another member has a reservation immediately after yours, we need to contact them to arrange alternative travel plans. We can often work it out without a problem, and letting us know as soon as possible helps you avoid late fees of $40 per hour.
What if the car I reserved isn’t at the hub?
It is very rare for a car you’ve reserved not to be at its hub; however, if it does happen, call us right away at (612) 343-2277. We’ll do whatever we can to get you where you are going, and we’ll credit you for the inconvenience. Usually the next member is just running a few minutes late and will be there soon. If that doesn’t work for your schedule, we can modify your reservation to another nearby HOURCAR or arrange and reimburse alternative transportation if necessary.
What if a certain car is not available when I want it?
Sometimes other members will reserve the car you want at the time you want, and this is where the sharing aspect of car-sharing comes into play. Hourcars are available by reservation on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend making reservations as far in advance as possible. In most instances where a member’s first choice is unavailable, they are able to reserve a different car at a nearby hub or reserve their desired car at a different time.
Hourcars are occasionally blocked out for maintenance. You can contact us if you need to use a specific Hourcar during that time, and we may be able to accommodate your request if maintenance is minor (like routine cleaning) and won’t affect member safety.
Questions about driving
What if I get a ticket?
If you get a ticket, you are responsible for paying it. If you intend to contest the ticket in court, please contact us immediately. If an unpaid ticket is forwarded to HOURCAR, we will pay it and charge the cost of the ticket, any late payment penalties, and an additional fee to your account.
Can I use my phone while driving?
Starting in August 2019, holding a phone in your hand while driving will be against the law in the state of Minnesota—even when stopped at a traffic light. Infractions of the hands-free law will be considered a “minor traffic violation” in regards to HOURCAR’s membership qualifications. To learn more about the law, please visit handsfreemn.org
What happens if I am in an accident?
Contact us immediately at (612) 343-2277 if you’re in any kind of accident. If the accident is minor and we both agree the car is safe to drive, you may continue with your reservation back to the hub if you feel safe to do so.
If you are in an accident that results in injuries or major property damage, please call 911 immediately. When you are safe and able, please call us at (612) 343-2277 and our staff will assist you with next steps. If possible, please get insurance information from any other drivers involved, as well as any other pertinent information (such as names of responding police officers and police report information).
What if I notice damage before I start my reservation?
Before you begin your reservation and start driving the Hourcar, please inspect the vehicle for any damage. If you are using the HOURCAR app, you can upload photos of any damage you notice before starting your trip. Otherwise, make note of any scratches or dings, and report it to us. If you don’t report damage to us before your reservation and it is reported by other members later, you may be responsible for the damage.
What if I forgot something in an Hourcar?
If your reservation is still active, you may be able to open the vehicle with your key fob or card. If your reservation is already over, contact us and we can make you a short, complimentary reservation to retrieve it at your convenience. Alternately, you can make yourself a short reservation (30 mins) to retrieve your item, and then contact us during office hours for a refund of the trip cost. If you have forgotten something in the car long after your reservation, contact us and we’ll look for it in the car or our lost-and-found.
Can I smoke or vape in an Hourcar?
No. There is absolutely no circumstance in which you can smoke or vape any substance in an Hourcar. The smell of smoke is extremely expensive to remove from a car. If you smoke in an Hourcar, we will charge you a cleaning fee of at least $200. Smoking in a car is also grounds for revocation of your HOURCAR membership. Seriously, do not do it.
Can I take my pet in an Hourcar?
Yes, with some important stipulations. Please be mindful that you are sharing the car with other members who may be allergic to your pet.
We insist that you clean up any pet hair and leave the car as clean as when you found it. You must use a pet carrier and place the provided cargo blanket underneath it. You must clean up any pet hair, shake out the cargo blanket, and leave the car as clean as when you found it. If another member reports excess pet hair after your reservation, you will be charged for it.
Remember, we live here, too. If we happen to see your Hourcar out in world with your pet in the front seat, you will be charged for it. We love pets, but you must clean up after them.
Can I take my bike/kayak/skis/etc. in an Hourcar?
Yes. Please use the cargo blanket in the car to keep any greasy/dirty/snowy parts from marking up the inside of the car, and take care when loading so as not to scratch the car. If you wish to use a rack, you are free to do so as long as the rack does not scratch the paint or otherwise damage the car.
Can my parents/siblings/friends/partners drive my Hourcar?
Only HOURCAR members can drive Hourcars. If you make a reservation and bring someone along, they can only drive the Hourcar if they have their own membership with HOURCAR.
What kind of transmissions do Hourcars have?
All Hourcars have automatic transmissions.
Questions about membership
How do I become a member?
Can you expedite my application?
Our sign-up process is pretty quick, and sometimes we’re able to get new members going the same day they sign up. If you need your membership approved so you can make a reservation right away, contact us and we might be able to speed things along. No guarantees, though.
How do I cancel my membership?
To cancel your HOURCAR membership, please complete the membership cancellation form. You’ll receive an email confirmation 3-5 business days after submitting your cancellation request.
Can I switch plans?
Can I have multiple drivers on my account?
No, your account is yours and yours alone. Sharing HOURCAR access to others is against our terms and may result in immediate termination of membership.
Can I refer someone to HOURCAR?
Refer someone to HOURCAR and you’ll both receive a $25 driving credit when they are approved for a new membership plan. To receive your credit, make sure they put your name in the referral field when they sign up. This credit cannot be combined with other sales or promotional offers, and it does not apply when adding additional drivers to your account.
How does billing work?
Trip Invoice: Your card on file is billed for the full reservation cost of each reservation as soon as the trip is complete (including the hourly cost, mileage if applicable, and taxes). If you’re ending your trip early, you’ll still be billed for the full reservation time unless you give us a call to shorten your trip. If you return the vehicle after your reservation has ended, late fees ($40 per hour, rounded up to the nearest full hour) will also be charged.
Monthly Invoice: If you are on a paid membership plan, your membership will automatically renew 30 days after your original enrollment date. If your membership fee fails, you’ll be placed on the Try-It Plan, and can re-subscribe to a paid plan at any time.
If the credit card you keep on file has expired or your payment is otherwise declined, you can enter a new card by logging in to your account and selecting “payment details”.
My credit card payment didn't go through. How do I fix it?
If the credit card you keep on file has expired or your payment is otherwise declined, you can enter a new card by logging in to your account and selecting “payment details.”
If the failed balance is a trip payment, you’ll be unable to make a new reservation or use an existing reservation until this is cleared. You can contact the office to get the balance re-run.
If the failed balance is a membership fee, you’ll be automatically bumped down to our Try-It plan and billed at that rate going forward. You can re-subscribe to a paid membership plan at any time, just log in to your account on the app or website, or contact us for assistance.
What if I forgot my username or password?
What if I lost my GoTo Card?
Contact us immediately. If there is unauthorized use of your card, you may be charged for it. We can replace a lost card with a Metro Transit GoTo card that you can sync to your account.