Every once in a while, something comes along that forces a drastic change to how we live. Sometimes, the wheels (no pun intended) are already in motion, but often just need a little push. When it comes to transportation, people have been slowly but surely welcoming change, which came in the form of vehicle-sharing systems.
In this article, we’ll discuss one type of these systems: station-based vehicle sharing. We will go over what it is, pros and cons, and what types of things to expect in the future.
What is station-based sharing?
Station-based sharing refers to when shared vehicles (bikes, cars, scooters, etc.) have a specific location to be either picked up or dropped off at. There are usually numerous stations for convenience within larger areas, meaning customers can rent an electric bike at one location but return it to another.
When people hear station-based vehicles sharing, they immediately think of the most common benefits that would result. However, here are a few advantages that sometimes go overlooked.
Better utilization of space, especially in crowded cities
As anyone who has ever been to a big city knows, there’s not a whole lot of room for vehicles to be left lying around everywhere. In fact, there’s not a whole lot of room at all. Therefore, a station-based sharing system ensures that any space taken up within a large urban location is neatly organized into a specific spot, which is further managed by its hosts.
More stability for customers
Just as city planners aren’t in love with the idea of bikes and scooters resting horizontally all over city sidewalks, customers who use these services dislike the idea that there might not be an available vehicle for them to find. As such, a station-based location gives them security and peace of mind in knowing that they can locate a vehicle at a specific spot.
Fulfills modern consumer needs
Tackling tasks without some form of transportation ownership used to be just about impossible. However, as new vehicle-sharing programs came to be, it changed our idea of what we need to do in order to get around.
As consumers now want a different life experience, they are favoring their independence - being able to travel when needed - without the nuisance involved with costs and maintenance of transportation.
Transforms travel dynamics
Station-based systems are often seen as a way to benefit the people who use them, and they do, but there are other advantages to consider. For example, when a sharing system is in place, it indirectly helps everyone in the area. And it does this by directly reworking how travel happens within that location. For example, as people begin to see less overall traffic on the road and crowding on the sidewalks, their satisfaction with their surroundings increases.
Even though these are some impressive positives, a station-based model isn’t without negatives.
The following roadblocks to a station-based model can be frustrating and should be noted before undertaking any large projects regarding these systems.
Opposition from important city officials prevents growth/makes it tough to find space
A station-based sharing system needs at least one place to assign for the vehicles used. This comes with a lot of red tape, particularly with gaining approval from those in charge of city spaces and parking.
Furthermore, without true support from the right leaders, growing a station-based vehicle sharing system will be nearly impossible, as the main thing required for this growth is new places to set up more vehicle stations.
Requires large quantities of stations
Being station-based, the users aren’t able to just leave a recently-used vehicle on the sidewalk whenever they finish. Instead, there needs to be a specific location. Whether this is something that needs further construction or somewhere like a parking space, the logistics of this type of sharing can be overwhelming. It forces vendors to obtain parking agreements and other allowances to be successful.
Like any vehicle-sharing network, there will be maintenance costs to keep each individual transportation unit working optimally. However, station-based networks require further work in managing and maintaining the physical locations. So the costs are essentially doubled, as now not only the vehicles need to be fixed and worked on, their dropoff locations need maintenance as well.
Can be route-restrictive
For the company running the sharing program, the limitations come with finding space for stations. However, for the users, the problems are based on station locations. This is because in order for the service to be convenient to the customer, they need to find stations that are either within a reasonable distance from their starting area and also within a reasonable distance of their end destination.
We can’t predict anything for certain, but looking at the natural evolution of things, it seems like station-based models are going to be a large part of the future. So, what does this mean for everyone? We think it means the following:
- Corporate use of station-based transport (as opposed to traditional commuting)
- Expanded availability of services, both in number of stations and units they offer
- Potential for further ride-sharing options
These are just a few of the things we see on the horizon. That being said, it’s more important to react correctly to future changes than it is to predict the future in the first place.
Whether a station-based vehicle sharing system will be the ultimate catalyst for permanent change in the transportation world is yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain: those willing to see it for what it really is will be able to make the best decision possible when it comes to molding a better future.
Station-based isn’t the only type of vehicle sharing system. Discover the benefits of a free-floating system for your fleet business.