March 9, 2008

Transportation - Carsharing

Sarah Sandman

What is Carsharing?

Carsharing is a model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. The organization renting the cars may be a commercial business or the users may be organized as a democratically-controlled company, public agency, cooperative, ad hoc grouping. Today there are more than six hundred cities in the world where people can carshare. The term carsharing is also used for carpooling or ride sharing some places. As is often the case with innovations that spring up more or less spontaneously in different parts of the world, operations are organized in many different ways in different places, according to the objectives of the organizers and users. A small informal start-up may have only one shared car, and only a handful of sharers. In the larger services that are increasingly coming into existence, participants are typically city-dwellers whose transportation needs are largely met by public transit, walking, or cycling.

How GoLoco Works

* Members join a group or create groups to travel with.

* Members post a trip (as passenger, driver, taxi/car rental/shared vehicle coordinator) so that every GoLoco member can see it or just people in the group(s) of your choice.

* Members eceive email alerts to places you want to go.

* GoLoco has no membership costs or monthly fees. Members can share trip costs (parking, tolls, vehicle rental, taxi) automatically through GoLoco and they charge a 10% transaction fee to move the money from passengers to driver accounts using credit cards or PayPal. GoLoco allows you to build a trusted network over time which provides a rating system for others to rely on.

Zipcar and Flexcar Driven Together
Car-Sharing Leaders Expect to Turn Profit
Within a Year

By Thomas Heath Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, October 31, 2007; Page D01

"Flexcar and Zipcar, two companies seeking to change American habits by renting cars by the hour, plan to merge in a deal that would reshape the nascent car-sharing industry. After years of losses for both companies, Flexcar, based in Seattle and controlled by America Online founder Steve Case, said it will merge with the larger Zipcar, based near Boston, in hopes of achieving profitability within the year. “We just wanted to rapidly expand in new markets and rapidly expand the fleets,” said Case, whose Revolution LLC bought Flexcar in 2005. “They’re both in turbo-growth mode. We think the companies combined will be on a path to profitability in the next year or so, and with rapid and significant expansion will be ready” for an initial public offering of stock. The two companies, the nation’s largest car-sharing firms, are owned by private investors. They did not disclose the merger’s financial terms. Both companies were founded in 1999 with the intent of serving environmentally minded city dwellers and university students who could be weaned from the expense and other complications of automobile ownership. Zipcar, for instance, rents cars for $7.75 to $15 per hour on top of an annual fee. Together, the two companies helped popularize an industry that now includes more than two dozen competitors."

Carsharing Environmental Benefits

* Members of carsharing programs often shed cars. Over 40% of Zipcar members decide against purchasing a car, or end up selling their car.

* Members of carsharing programs drive less. Car usage of individuals is reduced by as much as 50%.

* Members of carsharing programs use other transportation. Members use the most efficient means of transportation for the task — walking, biking, public transportation, taxi or Zipcar/Flexcar.

* Flexcar and Zipcar have many hybrid vehicles in their fleets.

Carsharing Social Benefits

* In the case of GoLoco, not only travel networks but social networks.

* Flexcar and Zipcar builds sense of community and ownership amongst members. People are responsible for returning the cars on time and keeping it clean for others.

Carsharing Financial Benefits

Approximated yearly cost of using a Zipcar:

Approximated yearly cost of using a personal car: (maintainence, gas, parking, etc):


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