Car sharing: what is it and how does it work?

4 Mins read

Car sharing is a short-term car rental, which is now rapidly growing in popularity. It is believed that with the help of car sharing, you can not only get a car for a certain period of time for personal needs, but also unload roads in big cities. The service is very helpful when you need to get to the airport, to a business meeting or just drive around the city for fun. However, many people still do not know what car sharing is and how it works, using taxi services or denying themselves comfortable trips. In this article, we will reveal the advantages and disadvantages of this type of transportation in comparison with others, talk about contraindications for this type of car rental and whether there is a future for it.

Car sharing compared to regular car rental

Impossibility of acquiring personal vehicles opens up other opportunities for people: leasing, car sharing, regular rental. Each of them has its own conditions and purpose. Leasing is a long-term car rental with monthly installments and the right to repurchase. This is a comprehensive service, that is, car maintenance or fuel cards are included in the monthly payment. Standard car rental is suitable for those who need a car for a long time, but without repurchase. Rental involves rental for a period of 1 day or more and is paid daily or hourly.

However, car sharing is intended for those who need a car for a very short time, for example, for a few hours. Payment for the service occurs automatically and is calculated depending on the time the car was used. Everything happens as follows: using a special application, a person books a car, sees its location on the city map, gets to the car and picks it up. The car sharing system is designed so that in the case of your reservation, no one else will be able to use the selected car.

How to use car sharing

To be able to rent a car for car sharing, you first need to have a driver’s license. Then check out the list of service providers in your city. When choosing, pay attention to the experience in the field, the number of cars provided, as well as their class, pricing policy. We also recommend reading reviews on third-party sites to make sure there are no pitfalls.

The algorithm for using the service is as follows:

  1. Registration. Download special car sharing software. Create a personal account in it to use the service. To verify your identity, upload a photo of your driver’s license and sign the contract. This is easy to do by clicking the “Agree” button in the appropriate section. 
  2. Car selection. Pay attention to the specifications, model and brand of car that should meet your needs and budget. After you choose a suitable car, book it. Then check its location on the map.
  3. Checkup. Before unlocking the car and, accordingly, activating the service, inspect the car for damage. If you find any scratches or dents, take a photo. Otherwise, the operator may blame it on you. Do the same inside the car as soon as you get into it. Also, do not forget to check the transport documents that should be in the glove compartment.
  4. Trip. Clearly you need to carefully drive, park and return the car in the form you took it in.
  5. Refueling. Most often, the cost of renting a car already includes refueling the tank to a certain level. Each car sharing operator sets their own conditions for refueling: at the expense of the driver, at the expense of the driver with a subsequent return in the form of bonuses, or even a ban on self-refueling.
  6. Return. Park the car in any place that is within the accessibility zone on the application map, take all your things from it. Then, in the application, take a photo of the car and lock it. From this moment, payment will be made according to the operator’s tariffs. 

The advantages of car sharing include:

  • There is no need to visit the office to conclude an agreement. Everything can be done online: quickly and conveniently.
  • The service is available at any time of the day.
  • You can test more than one car model if you are looking for a vehicle to buy.
  • Thanks to a special booking service, you do not waste time warming up the car. Everything can be done using a special button in the application.
  • There is no need to worry about paying for parking or refueling.

What you definitely should not do

The owner of the car always monitors its condition. However, shared cars do not have a permanent driver, so their condition depends on the honesty of everyone who uses this service. But some people do not treat cars properly and then pay a fine to the company.

If you do not want further problems or fines, do not do the following with your shared car:

  • Don’t pass it on to other people. Renting from your account means that you are fully responsible for the car for the time of use.
  • Don’t use it as a taxi. A completely different service and application are intended for this.
  • Don’t drain gasoline. The company fills the tank at a certain level, and the program records the mileage and consumption. You will be caught red handed quite quickly.
  • Don’t damage telematics equipment. Car sharing companies who have worked for many years know about almost all attempts to steal their cars.
  • Don’t transport animals without carriers. This is primarily for your safety and the safety of your pet.
  • Don’t smoke. The driver who will take the car after you may not tolerate this smell or transport small children.
  • Don’t be reckless. If you get into an accident, you put your life and the safety of others at risk and may damage the car and then be obliged to pay a decent amount.
  • Don’t leave your car with doors or windows open. In the event of a car or property theft, only you will bear full responsibility for everything.

The disadvantages of car sharing include:

  • You have to look for and get to the parked car on your own.
  • You should conduct a detailed inspection of transport before use.
  • The car may appear untidy after the previous driver.
  • The car may lack necessary details.

Future of carsharing

Car sharing is a convenient and affordable service. It is great for situations where you need a car for a short trip. Intense development of this direction depends on the economy of the country, and even the city. But one way or another, car sharing is able to change the transport industry in the coming years, becoming a good addition to public transport.