For many people, sharing a car may sound absurd. Surely, if you want to travel somewhere, you either use your own wheels or if you don’t have a car of your own, there are public transport or taxi options.
But the future is here, and it has been for a while. Now, a smartphone app makes it possible to find a car within walking distance of your home. You have the convenience of the car without the hassle of a full-blown rental service, and there’s no need to deal with public transport timetables and routes.
Why use car sharing?
There are many reasons why people use car-sharing rather than traditional transportation routes. While it’s similar to renting a car, car sharing means you’re not confined to business hours, you can rent it for a short period of time and you only pay for the hours you actually use the vehicle.
In simple terms, it allows multiple people to drive the same car, pick it up where needed and deliver it to a designated space when finished. It’s convenient, and often cheaper than other ride options.
Plus, there are often multiple options when it comes to the type of car so if you need a bigger car to move things around, or even a minivan, there’ll be something available. Another benefit is that it’s environmentally sustainable. One car can often support up to 20 different people, which means there is less air pollution. Finally, if more people are sharing cars, there’ll be less traffic on the road, which, let’s face it, is a better experience for everyone.
Of course, there are some cons, the biggest of which seems to be the fact that you often need to decide in advance how long you want to keep the car for, which means there is limited flexibility. Additionally, during busy periods such as holiday seasons and long weekends, it may be difficult to find a car that suits your requirements.
How car sharing works?
The first step is to find out which car-sharing operators are available in your area. Once you’ve found out which options are there, it’s time to choose which one suits you best. Some will have membership fees, others will be on a pay-per-use basis.
There are also some operators that only offer small vehicles and others that offer everything from two-door cars through to moving vans. The final thing to check is what requirements you need to sign up. For example, some car-sharing platforms may require a clean driving record or a minimum age.
Usually, the car-sharing service is operated via an app. So once you’ve signed up, all you need to do is find out where the cars are parked and reserve one. Some services will provide you with a membership toggle or card that can be used to unlock the cars, others may have the ability to open the car via your phone, depending on the technology being used.
Once you’re in, you’re free to drive wherever you wish. The key is though, understanding where you need to return the car. Some services will allow you to park it wherever you are, as long as it’s in a designated car-sharing parking spot, others will require you to bring it back to the same spot you picked it up from, or at least the same vicinity. It’s worth checking this before you hit the accelerator. Generally speaking, petrol and insurance are covered and you pay for the distance traveled.
Share your own car
While there are operators that have a network of branded cars available for hire, there are also other apps that allow you to rent your own car out. For some people, a car is just sitting idling in their garage or on the street during the week.
For others, it’s a two-car family where the second car is only used for emergencies. In these cases, some people choose to rent out their cars on car-sharing platforms to earn a passive income.
There are so many options for freelancers or those who want to earn a second income, and car-sharing is one of the easiest ways to boost your household earnings, especially if the car is not being used. It’s a relatively easy process as long as you understand what is required of you and your car, and understand how best to maximize your income by renting out the car at the right times.
Another option that many people are embracing is using car-sharing cars to become Uber or Lyft drivers, or delivery drivers for other services. Of course, if this is the route you wish to go down, you’ll need to weigh up the cost benefits of renting a car through car-sharing services, compared to purchasing your own car outright.
For many, car-sharing is a much cheaper option than owning a car and everything that comes with it – monthly repayments, insurance, petrol, and everything in between. Using car-sharing to boost your household income may be the best way forward.
The future of car sharing
With technology becoming embedded in every facet of life, it’s understandable that it has also become so ingrained in the way we travel. Everything from ride-sharing to public transport is now organized through smartphone apps, so why should sharing cars be any different?
Car-sharing is an affordable, sustainable and flexible way to ensure you have transport when you need it, without being tied down by a personal vehicle or contract. And if you choose to register your own car, it can also be a fantastic way to increase your household income.