Skip to comments.A look at the pros and cons of car sharing
Posted on 01/05/2013 10:42:22 PM PST by thecodont
NEW YORK (AP) The ability to access a car quickly and give it back after a few hours is exploding in popularity among both college students and city dwellers.
Zipcar created the car-sharing concept in 2000. By the end of the decade car-sharing had caught the attention of the two largest U.S. car rental companies as Enterprise and Hertz started competing services. And this week, Avis, the nation's No. 3 car rental company, jumped into by offering nearly $500 million to buy Zipcar.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/A-look-at-the-pros-and-cons-of-car-sharing-4168037.php#ixzz2HAtWjxOx
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Sharing a car would certainly be a good way to share the costs of a car, provided that everybody abided by the agreement on how to split the costs.
I don’t see it working outside of major cities, where a car is an occasional need rather than a daily neccessity. You’d have to have identical commutes and schedules or completely different ones that do not overlap, then you’re without during free time. Won’t work.
It’s not like “sharing a car” so much as it is like car rental in bite-sized portions, and like so many things sold in bite-sized portions, it’s more expensive. If you need a car for a day or more, a traditional rental agency is a better bet.
Hahahahahahaha! Have you ever tried sharing a car with your sister? We had some beautiful battle royals over our schedules, mud on the floor mats, ash in the tray, books in the trunk, and leaving it on empty. We love each other, and car sharing made us want to kill each other. :p
It depends on the agreement you come to the person you’re sharing a car with. Most people, who own cars, don’t do much driving beyond to and from work, with some errands in between.
That’s a whole lot of time that you’re still paying for the car and it’s just sitting there in your driveway. If you have a car-partner, for lack of a better term, who is paying a reasonable amount each month for the right to use it, and also is just driving it, with some errands, it could cut your costs.
It’s all a question of whether the amount you’re being paid to rent your car makes up for the additional costs in insurance and maintenance. That’s where it may prove to not be worth the hassle of having to be flexible.
The ZIPCAR concept seems to be working well in Washington, DC. The Capitol Bikeshares are doing well with more stations (places were bikes can be picked up and left off being constructed almost every month. Each system has contracts, rules and payments that everyone is supposed to abide by. Try Google for more information.
It works well in DC because there is a good subway and bus system. As you say, it is used by people who need a car occasionally rather than daily. The people do not own these cars, the Zipcar company owns them and has them conveniently parked in many parts of the city to be picked up by arrangement.
That sounds similar to stories I've heard about "best friends" going on vacation together and sharing a motor home or a camper. It was great fun to listen to people talk about their "best friends" weird behavior. I'm sure the other parties had their stories as well.
We did that once years ago and never again. Your daily habits are just too different for that to work no matter how good a friendship you have, We even took our young children with us, not a pleasant thing. We’re lucky in that the friendship survived but many don’t I know.
It works well in metro areas with very good mass transit.
In the DC metro, you can rent a zipcar and have it waiting at your metro stop or whatever stop you advise.
Some people don’t keep a car in the city and use transit to work and shopping etc. Those times when you need a car, it is available.
In general, the problems with sharing things is that it deteriorates to the tragedy of the commons too often.
The Risks of Collaborative Consumption
-— Its not like sharing a car so much as it is like car rental in bite-sized portions, and like so many things sold in bite-sized portions, its more expensive. If you need a car for a day or more, a traditional rental agency is a better bet. -—
Short-term or micro-rental would be a better description, but it wouldn’t be as newsworthy.
So, when you’re pulled over by the cops and he sees a baggie in the backseat then you’re arrested even if it wasn’t yours. You’re also the one who probably gets the car that’s empty so you waste your rental time filling it up. Then there’s the problem with others doing who knows what in it. Or the person before you had the flu or smoked or stunk it up. No, thanks.
This has been done for several decades, although not formally. They used to call them 'neighborhood cars'. I remember hearing the term many times when I was a teenager. They would purchase a car, splitting the payments or up front cost among 5 to 10 houses in the neighborhood and then set a useage agreement. Needless to say, it usually never ended well.
I suspect such shared deals rarely do work out well. It’s hard, when you’re paying part of the bill to not want to be the main guy who uses it.
Nice article, thanks for the link.
A similar concept and example of “co-sharing” is daycares. Everyone there is a paying customer for access, but the children abuse daycare toys far more willingly than their own.
Traffic tickets from red light cameras go to the owner of the car, not specifically the person who was driving it.
I have used Hertz and Enterprise’s on demand rentals 6x in the past year. If you use it less than a day it is less expensive than renting for the day (it includes gas and 180 miles and CDW and liability insurance, which is expensive when taken separately on a by-the-day car rental in NYC).
It is even less expensive than hiring a car service or using taxis.
If you have things / people to pick up or move around, even from the city out to the suburbs, it pays off.
I do suggest adding 15-30 minutes to the reservation time you expect to use to to avoid rushing to bring the car back on time, as well as for allowing a few extra minutes on your clock to checking the car out in the garage or out in the street before taking off, as there is no traditional walk-around with the rental company employee as on a regular rental; if you see something wrong you call it in.
Also, I find their websites a PITA, though they do work better with Firefox.
(apologies ahead of time if this turns into a double post).