From why it matters to how to get started.
Let’s face it: carsharing is an incredible way to move around your city. It’s convenient, good for the environment, and a sustainable alternative to car ownership. But what impact does it have on your city, and how does it work? We’ve collected the key data about carsharing here so you can get an overview of its benefits, and get ready to start taking advantage of them! Let’s start with the basics.
What is carsharing?
Carsharing is an alternative to personal car ownership. As a member or user of a carsharing service you can rent cars by minute, hour or day. To be able to use carsharing you’ll need a valid payment method and to have your driver’s license and ID validated by the carsharing service.
How is carsharing helping our cities?
- Reduce traffic jams : since carsharing can be used one-way (as you can drive a car to an event and take back a train, for example) rit reduces cars on the road
- More parking spaces: 1 shared car = 15 owned cars in terms of parking space
- Less air pollution : car sharing companies tend to offer eco-friendly cars (hybrid or 100% electric cars)
Different options for different situations: What are the different types of car sharing?
Free-floating or one-way carsharing
This model is for rides from A to B. Freefloationg carsharing is available all around the city. You can pick up the car and drop it anywhere within the designated business zones. You reserve and open the car with your app and once you’re done, you end your rental with the app. Insurance, parking and gas are included.
What is it good for? Short and quick trips: going to work, restaurant or to the movies.
Stationary or Roundtrip carsharing
This type of carsharing is a bit different. Let’s say that it’s from A to B to A. You pick up a vehicle from a specific station and when you’re done, you need to return it to that same station. Stations are basically unattended self-service locations, usually a street.
It’s similar to a classic rental, but much easier. You don’t need to go through an agent, no need to wait in line and no need to refuel. You can reserve your car in advance through the app (up to a few weeks in advance) and you just need to get to the station, open the car with your app and you’re ready to go!
What is it good for? Long and planned: day & weekend trip, IKEA, visiting grandma.
Peer to peer carsharing
The same way you rent someone’s apartment on Airbnb, with p2p carsharing you can rent a person’s private car. And it’s super easy! Peer-to-peer carsharing allows you to book and rent a car without even meeting the owner.
Book the car in advance, pick it up at the location and use your app to unlock and drive the car. Insurance is always included but you need to pay for gas and parking yourself.
What is it good for? long and planned trips.
Advantages and disadvantages of using carsharing
What are the advantages of carsharing?
The cost of owning a car is spread across several people: the price of the car, gas, maintenance, repairs, parking and insurance. When using carsharing, all those extra costs are included in the minute rate. The end result? You pay as you go.
Car sharing is flexible. You have a wide choice of vehicles, with no strings attached! You can drive a scooter on your way to the office, take a small car when you need to run errands, get a truck if you’re moving apartments and a bigger car for a weekend trip with friends.
Are there any disadvantages?
You can’t guarantee you’ll always find a car when you need it. Especially if you’re in a prime location during rush hours. Another down-side is that you depend on your phone. If you’re having issues with your data connection or if your battery dies, you’ll experience difficulties opening and locking the car… which can be very annoying. Thankfully in those situations you can talk to the car sharing service’s customer support (by calling from another phone for example) which are extreme responsive and available 24/7.
Some people might complain that car sharing is not convenient, that it’s expensive and not reliable. The biggest problem is that oftentimes they’re simply not using it properly. There are multiple providers offering different business models, rates, cars and conditions. You need to do a bit more research before you actually start using car sharing or you can just download a car sharing aggregator like Free2Move which will permit you to register to different providers at once, show you all the vehicles (on a single map) and you’ll be able to book the one that suits you best for each situation.