Back to School Means Backpacks, Notebooks, Laptops ... and a Short-Term Car Lease

Sep 06, 2011, 08:00 ET from

CINCINNATI, Sept. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Summer has come to its inevitable end, and for many families, there's an additional dilemma on top of school supplies, meet-the-teacher, choosing classes and making the football team: transportation.  From New York City to Los Angeles and in many towns and cities in between, massive school system budget cuts mean longer bus rides for students – and in cases like the San Francisco public schools, no bus at all for high school kids.

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Add the lack of busing to ramped-up fall schedules, and the question becomes: who's going to drive the kids to their schools, sports and activities? If one of those kids is a high school student with a driver's license, the answer may be easier than parents think: a short-term lease vehicle moves the hassle of chauffeuring off their plate and onto his while keeping budget and safety in mind.

A short-term lease is easy to obtain and the answer to many parents' prayers. A new (to the family) car will ease the demands on already-busy parents. For example, SwapALease's online lease trading service ( is the only full-service online marketplace of in-process vehicle leases, matching individuals who want to get out of their lease, with people who are looking for short-term leases with low payments and no money down.  Taking over someone else's lease will tide families over until it's time to figure out college transportation without obligating their cash long-term – an easy way to find a low-cost, convenient, safe vehicle for young drivers.

Another option is the rapidly growing ZipCar (, which has sprung up in urban areas and university towns across the country.  Based on the core principle of "car sharing," and with the catchy tagline of "wheels when you want them," ZipCar rents fully-insured, safety-checked, clean cars by the hour or by the day.  Just join the website (and become a Zipster, as they call their users), find a car near you, and reserve it via phone or online. Then pick it up, and it belongs to your family for the length of your contract. Hourly and daily rates and fees vary from city to city, with a $25 application fee and an average $50 annual fee.  Gas, insurance and taxes are included at no extra cost.

School, soccer, cheerleading, youth group, hanging out with friends, orthodontist appointments, and even grocery shopping – parents can hand it all over to the kids with a short-term lease while finding a little spare time for themselves.

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Name: Scot Hall