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GM-backed car-sharing service launches in DC

A new car-sharing service backed by General Motors Co. is coming to Washington, D.C., at a time when the city’s Metrorail system is undergoing a massive repair effort.

Maven, which enables customers to rent a vehicle using a smartphone app, launched in D.C. on Monday. Customers can search for and reserve a vehicle by location or car type, unlock the car and deploy remote functions such as starting, heating or cooling.

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The service is landing in the region just as Washington’s transit system is in the midst of implementing a yearlong maintenance project, which is expected to cause delays and service disruptions. 

Maven allows riders to chose from a Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac ATS or the electric Chevrolet Volt for $8 an hour, or a Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon or Cadillac Escalade for $14 an hour.

The app is free to join, and fuel and insurance are included with the service. Daily rates are also available.

“Whether it’s driving to land the perfect job, meeting friends for a fun weekend or exploring the city, Maven enables our members to access transportation how they want it, when they want it,” Julia Steyn, GM vice president of urban mobility and Maven, said in a statement. “As we continue to expand into key cities, more customers will see how Maven can provide next-gen freedom by seamlessly connecting them with people and places that matter.”

GM announced a $500 million investment in Lyft — the nation's second largest ride-hailing app — earlier this year. The automaker also acquired the assets and technology of the ride-hailing pioneer Sidecar, which shut down at the end of last year.

House lawmakers are pushing a bill — which is slated to be marked up in the fall — that would allow federal workers to use their transit benefits on alternative transportation options such as Uber and Capital Bikeshare.