28 Apr 2019

Car-sharing economy goes beyond Uber

Each share car means 10 fewer cars on the road
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Car sharing has “remarkable” potential to reduce congestion, though it still hasn’t begun to make a dent on traffic, despite the rise of an increasing number of apps that connect people with vacant cars.

“We have a long way to go before planners see car and ride sharing as part of their remit but car-sharing does have a remarkable potential to reduce congestion,” said University of Sydney urban and regional planning expert Dr Jennifer Kent.

“At the moment, planners don’t really factor in how useful car and ride sharing could be to make transport systems more user-friendly and more able to be used by the wider public.”

Research has identified that people who offer to share their cars through services like startups CarNextDoor and DriveMyCar are less likely to have multiple vehicles on their driveways. People who use these apps are also more likely to walk or cycle, and are more discerning about when they decide to pay money to use a vehicle, Dr Kent added.

Will Davies, co-founder and chief executive of CarNextDoor, Australia’s largest peer-to-peer car-sharing platform, claims each car that enrols on his service will eventually to 10 fewer cars on the road. He also says people who car-share drive about 40 percent less than people who own their own cars.

“It’s because you are paying per use. Humans are creating too many carbon emission and the way people look at transport should be part of the effort to reduce that,” Davies said.

“It’s all very well and good to have that goal, but if it doesn’t have an economic benefit, it’s not going to work. So we are trying to give people easy access to cars just around the corner.”

At the same time, owners can make a profitable business from their stationary cars by enrolling them in a car-share scheme, according to Chris Noone, chief executive of peer-to-peer car rental firm DriveMyCar, which operates vehicles owned by individuals and companies and focuses on longer-term rentals.

“If you look at a car that’s rented out for a full year, under our model that would work out at 42 percent of the value of that car,” he said. “People now want more flexibility in their transport.”

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