Car sharing is changing the way that travelers book a car. Traditional car rental isn’t your only option anymore. But how does carsharing work?
Now that global warming and environmental issue are a mainstay of our evening news bulletins, many people are trying to find new ways of cutting down their CO2 emissions. As a result, car sharing is becoming an increasingly popular way of getting access to a car without having ownership. It can be confusing if you’re still not fully aware of what the service entails though.. Who pays for the fuel? Where do I go to find the car? Where should I park it once I’m done? Fortunately for you, we’re here to answer your questions.
What is car sharing?
So, let’s start at the beginning. Car sharing is essentially a form of short term car rental that allows you to use the vehicle in order to get from Point A to Point B. That way you’re able to get use of a car but only pay the associated with that specific journey, depending on the time distance travelled. This is different to traditional car renting, as you’re required to pick up and drop off the car within specific business hours and at set locations. With car sharing, you’re able to access any car at any hour around the town within the reserved parking spaces. Many towns have these, so you should be able to find one relatively easy and start your journey without the hassle of travelling to the car rental premises first.
Will car sharing save me money?
Car sharing is really economical for some, but it entirely depends on your usage. If you need a car every day and travel long distances, then full ownership of a car might make more financial sense. If you don’t depend on a car and need use of one on the odd occasion, then car sharing offers a great opportunity to have access to a car without the significant costs of insurance and maintenance. However, if you need to use a car extensively during the course of one day, then traditional car rental could work out cheaper. One thing is for sure, it is no longer absolutely necessary to own your own car, which in some cases can offer you a lot more freedom and save you money at the same time.
Is car sharing better for the environment?
If you’re interested in living a more sustainable life style, then car sharing will definitely benefit you. Vehicles supplied by car sharing companies are often newer models, so are much more economical with fuel, and some are even hybrids which use electric to reduce emissions further. As many people can all use the same car, it also reduces the number of cars that need to be manufactured, avoiding the environmental cost associated with building the extra cars. It also reduces the number of journeys that you’re likely to take. When you own a car and are paying insurance, you’re more likely to use it in order justify the cost you’ve already forked out. With car sharing, every trip you take is an extra cost, so you’re more likely walk to the shop instead taking a short journey in the car that’s sat on your drive burning a hole in your wallet.
Which car sharing service should I join?
There’s plenty of car sharing services throughout the U.S., so wherever you live, you’re bound to find one near you. Most of them a very similar, requiring you to have a full driving license and a relatively clean driving record. You’ll then have to pick a plan depending on the amount you intend to use the service. For example, VRTUCAR has significant coverage in Ottawa and has three plans that offer a better hourly rate when you sign up for a monthly plan, which is perfect if you expect to be a heavy user. After successfully applying, you’ll receive a membership card or fob which will then be used to unlock and use the cars.
Zipcar are one of the most recognisable car sharing brands in the U.S., covering most of the major cities across the country. With over 730,00 members, Zipcar has over 730,000 members, so you can be pretty confident that you’ll be able to find cars in your area whenever you need one. It’s incredibly easy to do so, too, either by using the Zipcar website or app. They have a great range of cars too, including electric models such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf.
If you’re looking to travel a fair distance without having to return the car back to where you found it, Car2Go is the most reputable brand in point to point car sharing. You are charged by the minute, but pay no annual fee or extra fees for fuel. You can use their app to find a vehicle near you, or reserve one to make sure you get the vehicle you want for your journey. Once you’re in the driving seat, away you go! Once you reach your destination, you need to leave it in an official Car2Go parking area, but you can keep it if you think you’ll still need to use it. At the end of the month, you’ll get sent your bill. It’s a perfect way to pay as you go without having to worry about insurance or fuel.
Slightly different to the two companies above, Turo (formerly RelayRides) is an app that lets users rent their cars to other uses. Peer to peer car sharing takes a page from other sharing platforms like Airbnb. It’s great service for people who own a car but do not use it very often, so that they can generate another source of income. And, unlike Uber or Lyft, the owners don’t have to do the driving. People who do not own cars can then benefit by renting a car by the hour to carry out their errands or visit a nearby city.
It’s clear that the car sharing market is increasingly growing as many people start to see the benefits of lowering their fixed costs, avoid spending huge amounts on insurance and only using a car when they really need to. Smartphone apps make it easier than ever to track down spare cars, so you’re never really far away from a useable car, even if you don’t actually own it.