Car Sharing: Welcome to the future of vehicle ownership (or how to own one less vehicle)

Are you one of the more than 500,000 people in North America taking part in the care share revolution? If not, why? Car share companies have grown their membership over 20% in the last 5 years for good reason. Car sharing provides members with unprecedented freedom of movement and cost savings.

Why you want to car share.

Parking: Car share is great for getting to and around Downtown Austin. There are permanent parking spaces all over downtown for both Car2go and Zipcar. Always there when you need them, always free. In addition to the permanent car share spaces, you can park a Car2go at any metered spaced for free!

Cost: The average cost of owning a car is $9,000 per year and the average car owner uses their car only 8% of the time or 1 hour per day. That comes out to around $25 per hour to use your personal vehicle. Compare that to the cost of car sharing which is typically under $15 per hour (and as low as $6), you get to choose the type of car you want and you aren’t paying when you aren’t using the car, which is most of the time.

Health: Zipcar released a study that found that after 1 year, their members walked 21% more and biked 14% more. Imagine shedding a few pounds and getting in shape while getting around town.

What is it?

Car share is a way to have unlimited access to a vehicle without actually owning one. Under most car share systems, a public or private entity will own and operate a fleet of vehicles that they then rent out to individual consumers, their members. Members generally pay a fee to join and a per rental fee. There are several different ways car share operators do business, ensuring that one will fit your needs. In Austin, 3 different companies operate car sharing services: Zipcar, Car2go and Getaround. With so many Car Sharing options in Austin, choices are plentiful for what type of vehicle you want or need. If you have business clients in town, pick up a BMW. If you want to head to the Hill Country for an afternoon, grab a convertible Mini Cooper. If you just need to get across town, grab a SmartCar! With all of these cars at your disposal, why wouldn’t you consider getting rid of your car? Also, many car sharing companies (Car2go, Zipcar, Getaround) are available in other cities in the U.S. and around the world giving you access to vehicles even on vacation!

2 Car Sharing Models: Ensuring that you have an option for every occasion

Business to Customer (B2C): In the B2C model, a private company owns the fleet of vehicles and rents them to their individual members. Members pay a fee to join and for the time they use the vehicle. Gas, full coverage insurance and mileage are all included in each rental. Cars can be reserved online, via phone or your computer. Austin is fortunate to have 2 such companies operating in town, Zipcar and Car2go. Enterprise, the national rental car chain, also operates a car sharing service for business customers. Their service, WeCar, is available to individual businesses that need frequent access to cars.

Zipcar is the largest car share operator in the world with over 575,000 members. Zipcar came to Austin in 2011 landing at the University of Texas and then expanding to downtown Austin in 2012. Zipcar members pay an annual fee and rent the cars on an hourly basis. Zipcar has over 30 makes and models, from sedans to trucks. This lets you make that run to Ikea for furniture or a trip to the grocery store.

Car2go has been in Austin for a few years and Austin was actually the first city in the US to have Car2go. They operate the fleet of blue and white Smart Cars you’ve seen around town. Car2go has a onetime setup fee and rentals are charged by the minute. Car2go is great for one way trips or when you need access to a car in a jam.

 

Peer to Peer (P2P): In the Peer to Peer model cars are owned by private individuals and rented out to the community. The car owner sets the rental price based on what the market will bear (aka what they can get for it). The idea is that your car sits idle most of the time (92% for your average car owner). This idle time can be better used by those that need a car, allowing the car owner to make some money and take cars off the road, reducing congestion.

Getaround is Austin’s first P2P business. They launched their service in Austin in March of 2012. Getaround helps members rent out their cars while not in use and assists other members in renting the car they need. To use the service to rent out your vehicle, Getaround provides a free car kit that you place in your car. The kit enables members who want to rent your car to find it over the web and make a reservation. For those looking to rent a car, you can logon to the Getaround website or use the iPhone app to setup your rental reservation. Full insurance coverage is provided so that you, as the car owner or renter, can rest assured you are covered in the event something should happen. Getaround has grown their membership to 10,000 members in the course of only one year. Getaround wants to change people’s mindset around car ownership and believes the Austin community is a great place to start.

No matter your lifestyle or schedule, there is a car sharing service to fit your needs. Or maybe integrating all 3 services works best. If you need more info or assistance getting started with car sharing, contact Movability Austin and we can help.

Could car share help you become a 1 car household? Watch this video to see how one family made the transition.

If these cars could talk from Community CarShare on Vimeo.

 

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