Triple A or some other acronym?

Since most of my family lives on the other side of the state, I tend to make some long trips. Since I sometimes make them alone, and this does not sit well with Mister Fishbones, I have considered signing up for Triple A.

I was googling about, looking for more information about AAA (and hoping they were not the spawn of Satan) when I came across an article about the Better World Club, sort of like the Working Assets equivalent of Triple A. I checked out the differences between the two, and then I remembered that I can also sign up for Roadside Assistance on my cell phone, and it got me wondering, so now I’m all conflicted.

I’ve read about some Triple A policies and such, and I’ve read the comparison between Triple A and BWC, whom I like because they’re local and they seem to offer all the stuff AAA does for at least the same price if not less, and they have other options that I like (carbon offsets, hybrid car discounts, etc).

So what it comes down to is this: Should I sign up for AAA? Better World? My cell provider’s roadside assistance? I do want to sign up for one, it would be nice to know I’m not completely stranded, not to mention the worry it would save Mister Fishbones. Have you had one of these services? Do you like it? Is there some reason not to sign up for one or definitely sign up for the other? Please give me your personal experience in the comments.

8 Comments so far

  1. Jonpaul (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 5:12 pm

    I don’t know about the other services, but I was a member of Triple A for years and loved it.
    Couple of the things I really liked;
    1) A reasonable yearly fee.
    2) You can use their service for any car you ride in. Even if you’re just a passenger and the owner of the car you’re in doesn’t have Triple A.
    Why am I not a member now you ask?
    I don’t own a car anymore and money got too tight.
    Food and a roof over my head trumped Triple A membership.

  2. bAAA! (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 5:14 pm

    The one time I had to use the services of Better World, I waited 90 minutes for someone to jump my car. After the first hour had expired, I called back and was told they’d had trouble finding me initially. And so the best course of action was to wait for me to call back??!?!?

    This was in the neighborhood of Failing and Mississippi, so I wasn’t exactly stranded, but I’d worry about how long it would take them to get someone to a remote location.

    I won’t join AAA, because I can’t abide their political lobbying. Maybe I just had some bad luck with BW last time. I hope so. I’m still a member, as I haven’t yet found a better alternative.

  3. lupin (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 5:22 pm

    I was given an article a few years ago that discussed AAA’s involvement in promoting and supporting legislation ,on behalf of it’s membership, that promotes anti-envionrnmental polices(having to do with roads, cars, fuel ). sorry can’t remember specifics, maybe a google search would get you some info.

  4. jonashpdx (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 5:46 pm

    I’ve been a AAA member for a number of years, and have had to call them, on average, about once a year– usually having to do with my own stupidity, like locking keys in a car or something, but a few times when something more serious was involved like a flat tire on a freeway or a dead car in a driveway. AAA customer service, both on the phone and when they arrive, has always been stellar and reliable, so from that aspect i would highly recommend them. echoing jonpaul, the fee is totally reasonable and transferable to any vehicle you’re driving, so pretty worth it.

  5. dom (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 6:26 pm

    You might also have roadside assistence availible from your auto insurance provider. It might not come with all the wiz-bang features of a travel service like AAA but it might be a lot cheaper. IIRC, ours was about $2 a month for 2 people.

  6. brett (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 6:45 pm

    thanks so much for bringing this up. I joined BWC a year ago and, luckily, haven’t yet had to use its services, so can’t comment on that. But please, before you or anyone else even thinks about giving AAA any money, read the two stories (from Harper’s and Sierra) at the link you supplied about how evil AAA is. I had to wait more than an hour both times I had to use AAA.

    BWC mostly uses the same local tow truck operators as AAA, so the only difference is whether you want to support a front for Big Oil and big cars, global warming and sprawl (your money will go to pay lobbyists and contribute big campaign bucks to bribe lawmakers to enact tax breaks for big oil and taxpayer subsidized sprawl) or to support a homegrown Portland outfit that pushes for pro-environment laws. They also offer pickups for stranded bike riders as well as drivers and donate 1% of revenues to environmental organizations.

    Meanwhile, AAA has opposed the Clean Air Act, restrictions on auto pollution, clean air alternatives, and other environmental efforts, while supporting big highway projects. See

  7. helium3 (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 11:02 pm

    I dunno B.L.F. You have to drive across some pretty desolate stretches of Oregon highway to get home. As much as I’d like to support the little guy (especially if he has better corporate policy) it’d really suck if your car broke down and BWC wasn’t able to get to you. If you were just getting roadside assistance for stuff like leaving your keys in the car, I’d say go with BWC.

  8. marsha (unregistered) on August 16th, 2006 @ 5:09 pm

    I wouldn’t join 3A for the above reasons & b/c of their cheap attitude towards their contractors. Ask the guy that comes to rescue you in the middle of the night how much he is getting paid. Then ask yourself what you could get for the same amount when you go to the grocery store.

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