What is a car sharing service?

What is a car sharing service?

Over the past few years, car sharing has become a popular way for people in the city to move around especially for those who don’t own a car but need one every now and again. However, given the amount of options available from carpooling to traditional car rental services, it can still be difficult to define exactly what a car sharing service is, so we’re here to help.

Car sharing – a more flexible car rental experience

Per definition, car sharing is a service which allows users to rent a car for short periods of time without worrying about office hours or pick-up locations.

In fact, most car sharing services bill you per minute or per hour and are free-floating systems, meaning that sharing-ready vehicles are spread around a certain commercial area and after you reach your destination, you can either park them freely or in the closest designated parking space.

This means that you can find shared vehicles all across the city, locate them via GPS through the car sharing service’s app, drive them around and park them in the designated parking zones. This model is called one way car sharing as you can start and end your route in two completely different places.

But what about the keys? Basically, the app is the key. Once you reach your booked car, you can unlock it using your phone. In this way, you can rent a car whenever you want, all you need is the app, an internet connection and, of course, your driving license.

How does a car sharing service work?

Normally, you need to create a profile on the car sharing service’s app, upload your driving license (the approval might take a few days) and start looking for a vehicle. After selecting the closest one, you only need to reach it, open it and start driving.Once you reach your destination, you end the rental and pay via digital payment system, usually within the car sharing app. Some operators have memberships, some only charge you per minute or hour and some others create minutes-packages you can buy whenever you need a ride.

In addition, by using a car sharing service users can choose different cars according to the purpose of their trips: need a SUV for your next out-of-town adventure instead of your everyday compact? Just browse the vehicle offer of your car sharing service and off you go. In this article, you can read about 5 great car sharing services you might want to try out– check your area and find the one that better suits your traveling needs!

Car sharing

Fuel, insurance and maintenance – who pays?

One of the recurrent questions about understanding how car sharing services work is about all the costs connected to cars: is fuel included? Do I need to fill the tank after I leave the car? What about insurance? What happens if I get a flat tire?

These are all legitimate questions for someone who is not familiar with car sharing; in fact, these costs would be normally sustained by the owner of the car, resulting in a huge investment in money and time. When you use a car sharing service, you don’t need to worry about any of them. Each mobility operator has its own insurance policy, fuel is always included and any issues of maintenance from car wash to flat tires is taken care of by the car sharing company. Driving has never been so effortless, right?

As filling up the tank is not required, some company can even give you credit if you do it! This is the case for ShareNow, a car sharing company operating in more than 15 cities across Europe. So, to make the best out of your car sharing experience, keep an eye out for promotions and discounted minutes-bundles, as companies rely on those for acquiring new customers and building awareness in the cities they operate in.

If you are interested in understanding how car sharing companies work on the inside or want to build one of your own, check out our article about how to start a car sharing business. Or, get in touch with us today!

Closing thoughts

According to Zipcar, 10% of the population is expected to switch to car sharing as their first mode of transportation by 2050. Due to the flexibility, lower costs compared to car ownership and the variety of vehicles users can choose from, car sharing services are a great alternative or complementary choice to other means of transport (bike, scooter or public transport).

One thing’s for sure, car sharing services open new possibilities for mobility operators to explore. Get in touch with us today and let’s drive mobility to a more sustainable shared future.

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