Carsharing: how to reinvent the way to travel

An alternative phenomenon for sustainability mobility

What is Carsharing?

Carsharing has now become a widespread phenomenon all over the world. However, it should not be confused with carpooling and ride-sharing which entail sharing a ride with different people – including strangers at times. It is an alternative way of getting around the city, a useful and practical one, that widely contributes to sustainable mobility.

Carsharing is a short-term car rental service that allows you to book a car via an app, directly from your smartphone. It was born in Switzerland and is widespread in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and many other countries. In Northern Europe, where the service has always guaranteed reliability and safety, carsharing has reached a high level of legitimacy.

In Italy, this new trend began in 2001 in Milan at the behest of Legambiente and then developed at great speed in many other cities. To better understand what carsharing means, just think of one single car (or rather of a fleet of these) shared between people in different time slots, and made available by a private or public company, depending on the case. The car is always available, and you can decide to take it at any time of the day for a short period of time.

But how is Carsharing done?

To use carsharing, customers must register for the service, which usually requires a monthly or annual fee. The car can be booked via call center, via the Internet, or via an app. Once the application has been downloaded, simply use the geolocation function of your smartphone to find the nearest car. Smart cards are becoming more and more widespread, so it will be sufficient to approach the dashboard of the car to unlock the doors.

Some companies also allow users to register as an individual, family, or company, providing different rates for each option. Once you arrive at your destination, just find a parking space, leave the car, and use the app to report that you’re all done with the car. Before leaving, be careful to always check that you have not forgotten your personal belongings inside!

How much does Carsharing cost?

The success of this service is based above all on the possibility of saving on the purchase of a car, the convenience of booking via smartphone, and the resulting low environmental impact. Those who do not need to travel by car every day can choose to have an on-demand vehicle only when really needed. Another advantage is to implement the number of vehicles owned by a family, relying on car sharing only when necessary.

Rates vary greatly depending on the city, the car model chosen, and the rental time (by the hour, for one or more days). In Milan, for example, the costs of carsharing are around 120 euros per year with a binary rate, i.e., the cost per kilometer plus the hourly rate. In Rome, the annual pass is € 101.63 but there are various price distinctions between private citizens, families, business companies, and additional cards of € 25. You can also decide to try the Roman car-sharing service for 3 months for a total of 40.63 euros, topped with special arrangements and bonuses.

The alternatives to Carsharing: Carpooling and Ridesharing.

Carpooling is also called “group car” in Italian. It involves the sharing of private cars between a group of people. The main purpose of this sharing is to reduce travel costs. So, one or more individuals provide the vehicle, while the other users financially contribute to the travel expenses.

Ridesharing is a concept that has evolved in recent years and which essentially entails ride sharing on demand. What’s the difference between the two then? well, carpooling is not done for profit, and it usually involves people heading to the same destination. Ridesharing is more similar to taxi service: the driver and the ride are not going to the same place; instead, the driver usually makes a profit out of it, and then continues on his merry way.

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