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Re: [New Mobility/WorldTransport Forum] WBCSD report - Report Contributions

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  • Chris Bradshaw
    ... As a carshare provider, I find the comment is itself squirrely. Carsharing _is_ car-rental for short periods, as little as an hour. This allows rental
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 12, 2004
      tara.bartee@... <tara.bartee@...> wrote, in part:

      > Carsharing seems squirrely to me. The little I have seen was not
      > convincing. However, car rentals by the hour instead of by the day
      > might have potential.

      As a carshare provider, I find the comment is itself squirrely. Carsharing
      _is_ car-rental for short periods, as little as an hour. This allows rental
      cars to be used for all the around-town travel, other than commuting to a
      job, all without requiring private car ownership.

      But car-rental for such short periods requires a different business model.
      The cars need to be at locations that are closer to the users, since the
      effort to get the car cannot be out-of-proportion to the importance of the
      trip itself. To do this, a membership system is needed, so that the users
      are screened once, and can be trusted to let themselves into the cars
      themselves, filling in their own paperwork, since staff cannot be present at
      many locations.

      Also, without supervision, users cannot be required to replace the gas they
      use; gas must be included in the fees (saving the nearby gas stations and
      the users with a lot of nuisance fill-ups). Collisions insurance -- little
      more than a shakedown by car-rental companies -- is also included in the
      fees, although members are held accountable for the $500 ($300 in the U.S.)
      deductable, a nice touch of personal accountability that is part of just
      about every private-car collision policy.

      Finally, since no staff are present, the cost of the trip cannot be
      collected at the conclusion of each trip, so monthly invoices are issued.

      If the current car-rental companies started charging by the hour, they would
      either have to accept a similar access arrangement, or they would not get
      the short-trip business, just as has happened in every case, including in
      Scotland (Budget) and in Ottawa (Journey), that I have seen.

      There are five kinds of what I call MASC, or metered access to a shared car:
      car-rental, ride-sharing, taxi, carsharing, and informal sharing (a car
      owner letting family, friends, or neighbours drive it -- or an employer
      provide "pooled" cars for business travel). Although only carsharing
      charges purely by time and distance, all have the potential, working
      together with walking, cycling, and transit, to shift all the significant
      fixed costs to variable costs, making all car use appear to be as expensive
      as it is -- and to provide trip-by-trip documentation, reducing car uses
      that do not relate to "need" rather than getting one's "money worth".

      This makes private car ownership appear much less economical and eventually
      unnecessary. In time, we might well reduce the concomitant excessive land
      demands for roads and parking by making society's "fleet" no larger than

      Since this discussion group is an international group, many of whose
      participants travel a great deal, I would ask that, when you are away from
      your home city, are you leaving a perfectly good automobile sit idle. And
      don't you wish you could access as little car-access as you need in the
      other cities, without being required to get one at the airport for
      "wall-to-wall" replace of the idle car at home? With fractured
      auto-insurance jurisdictions world-wide, this use of carsharing will remain
      a dream.

      Chris Bradshaw
      Vrtucar, Ottawa, Canada
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