Carsharing, the service wins the world

It all started with bikes. Now it is the time to share the use of cars. The carsharing service has caught on in Europe, and is now expanding to the other continents. According to a study done by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, in five years, the number of carsharing operators in the world has quadruplicated in the last five years. Today, they are in 41 cities in 7 developing countries. Brazil is one of them. Research from the Navigant Research estimates that this sector will move US$ 6,2 billion globally by 2020.

Growth of carsharing systems in emergent economies (Graphic: WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities)

Carsharing consists in renting a car for a given period, being suitable for short term use. Despite the nonexistence of effective data, carsharing has helped to reduce the number of vehicles on the streets. In a domino effect, it may also reduce the traffic and the pollutants emission, in addition to helping increase the users awareness about the cost of keeping their own vehicle. In Brazil, Zazcar (São Paulo) runs on 60 vehicles, in more than 40 locations in a very simple way. To rent a car, the user just has to access the company’s site and register. The customers are then directed to a distribution center, where they get a card (Zazcard), enabling them to make reservations. After that, they only have to choose one of the cars available and go to the place where the vehicle is parked (the site offers a map of all the parking spots, as in the image below). The company also offers insurance and fuel. The minimum renting period is one hour.

The Zazcar site illustrates models of cars available in each place

The service has been well accepted in the whole world, although particularities may exist depending on the company chosen. The Swiss Mobility, a pioneer in this sector, currently possesses a fleet of 2.700 vehicles, located in more than 1,400 points. And, following the current digital trend, it already works through an application. To understand the relevance of this service and its impact in some cities, in Hoboken, New Jersey, the cars of sharing companies have exclusive parking spaces on the streets.

At a moment when the utility of an individual vehicle is defied,  carsharing has stood out. Ford is one more company to adhere to this worldwide trend, having launched a car rental service in London, where, also through an application the user can do reservations and payments. We hope carsharing may become a worldwide habit once it has the potential to reduce traffic and pollution.

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