Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Why not car sharing or pooling?

The increase of petrol prices makes people search for alternatives to their day-to-day car. Not only the petrol is getting more and more expensive, but together with insurance costs and other maintenance costs having a car can sometimes feel like a luxury.
Car-sharing and car-pooling schemes are on the increase all over the world, from Germany and Switzerland, where they started in earnest in the 1980s, across Europe and even to the US and Asia. For car-sharing members typically pay a fee to join and then pay per use. All the costs of buying, running, insuring and maintaining the vehicles are then covered by the scheme. In Australia the most famous company is called GoGet.

Car Sharing
Carsharing or car sharing (in the UK known as car clubs) is a model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. They are attractive to customers who make only occasional use of a vehicle, as well as others who would like occasional access to a vehicle of a different type than they use day-to-day. The organization renting the cars may be a commercial business or the users may be organized as a company, public agency, cooperative, or ad hoc grouping.

GoGet (Australia)
GoGet CarShare is a car sharing service operating in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, and the first such program in Australia. GoGet was launched as Newtown CarShare on 6 June 2003 with three vehicles and twelve founding members. Following interest from the City of Darebin, the service was extended to Melbourne under the name "GoGet" in November 2004. With the growth of the service to other areas in Sydney, Newtown CarShare was renamed GoGet in May 2005.
GoGet members choose a rate plan and pay an entry fee. Fees cover fuel, insurance, maintenance, and cleaning. The vehicles are mostly late-model sedans, but also include SUVs and station wagons. Each vehicle has a home location, referred to as a "pod", either in a parking lot or on a street, typically in a highly-populated urban neighbourhood. Members reserve a car by web or telephone and use a key card to access the vehicle. GoGet is an invented word which reflects the utility you get from using, rather than owning, a car. As in 'Go get the shopping, go get the kids.'

Main advantages:
  • Reduction of parking fees, normally they have their own dedicated parking spots
  • No hassle time, i.e. no need to wash the car, go to the mechanic
  • Part of the petrol included with the hourly/daily cost
  • Easy to book (on-line or phone call)
  • Reduction of overall financial costs
  • Better for the environment

Main Disadvantages:
  • Special requirements, e.g. children seats
  • Sometimes you need to plan ahead since people may book the car that you want
  • From time to time people do not return the cars in a timely matter, this means that you may need to search for other possibilities
  • You still do not own a car
See if your neighbourhood also has a similar service, if not you can always car pool.

Car pooling
Carpooling is as well becoming one of the common means of transport for many people, especially those who work nearby. Carpooling (also known as ride-sharing, lift-sharing and covoiturage), is the sharing of car journeys so that more than one person travels in a car. By having more people using one vehicle, carpooling reduces each person's travel costs such as fuel costs, tolls, and the stress of driving. Carpooling is also seen as a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way to travel as sharing journeys reduces carbon emissions, traffic congestion on the roads, and the need for parking spaces. Authorities often encourage carpooling, especially during high pollution periods and high fuel prices.Carpool commuting is more popular for people who work in places with more jobs nearby, and who live in places with higher residential densities. In addition, carpooling is significantly correlated with transport operating costs, including gas prices and commute length, and also with measures of social capital, such as time spent with others, time spent eating and drinking, and being unmarried. However, carpooling is significantly less likely among people who spend more time at work, older workers, and homeowners

Main Advantages: 
  • Like in car sharing it cuts down your car related expenses considerably which can be easily reduced depending on the number of people using carpool
  • Helps reduce stress levels by not be the one driving all the time
  • An indirect benefit is that you will get to leave office at the same time everyday
  • Carpooling can be fun and relieve you from loneliness
  • Better for the environment

Main Disadvantages
  • It requires a lot of punctuality, as in the case of car-pooling; you will be picked up at the same time everyday
  • As there are a number of people travelling together you can be prone to catch viruses and thereby falling ill just like in a public transportation
  • You need to know some people living in the same locality who commute
  • If one or two people quit, the car pool may become difficult to work 
  • It may be difficult to adjust with the other people in the car, e.g. they have peculiar habits such as smoking.
  • You will have to sacrifice a certain amount of independence
  • When carpooling is within colleagues it may result in gossiping and back-biting
  • You cannot do any errands on your way to and from work
  • Any participant running late can effectively make all the other members behind time

These are examples that you can use in order alter your commuting. Car sharing and/or car pooling have both advantages and disadvantages which should be well considered before taking any decision in this regard. Mainly the advantages for both are correlated with a substantial reduction of financial and environmental costs whereas the disadvantages are more correlated with the lost of some independence and impulse. I do believe that a decision on this area will be a matter of personal choice and comfort which will change from person to person.

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Blog Editor and Owner: Luis Aparicio Fernandes (or Mikey) is a Business Expert and a Traveler based in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of The International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma due to his achievements in business. You can follow Luis on Google+, and LinkedIn.