This is great news: Zipcar carsharing service will soon open PODs (Points Of Departure) in San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. I've been a member of CityCarShare for about three years now, and I highly recommend car sharing for city dwellers who only use a car for out-of-town errands.
Besides parking, the biggest annoyances of owning a car in the city are the irregular maintenance tasks:
fuel injector unclogging
honest mechanic finding
insurance policy deciphering
registration renewal fee
title transfer fee
state title fee
blah, blah, blah
CityCarShare sends technicians to check up on cars at each POD every Wednesday. Insurance and maintenance fees are all included with membership. All I have to do is pay my $10 monthly membership fee, plus monthly usage fees, keep my driver's license, and return the car with at least a half a tank of gas. There's even a gas card in the glove compartment.
For absent-minded folks, all parking tickets are promptly paid by CityCarShare, then charged to you as part of your monthly usage fees. No separate envelopes for the GoldenGate Bridge ticket, city of Mill Valley ticket, Berkeley ticket and San Francisco Parking and Traffic ticket. Just one consolidated payment to CityCarShare.
Zipcar is for-profit. It will be interesting to see how it competes with nonprofit CityCarShare.