Collaboration … Matt Der Sarkissian and Sarah Evans.Australia’s first peer-to-peer car sharing service is set to start in Sydney, offering a cheap alternative to car ownership and giving owners more economic mileage out of their idle assets.
Car Next Door, due to launch a trial around Bondi and Paddington in December, is an online network where people share their cars with others for an hourly or daily fee. About 1000 people across Australia have registered their interest in the scheme.
The concept, which is gaining momentum in the US and Britain, aims to cut carbon emissions and take cars off the road as well as encourage neighbourly ties, the company’s co-founder, Will Davies, said.
”There are millions of cars sitting idle in Australia doing nothing for nearly all the time. We are unlocking a way for those car owners to continue to use the cars themselves, while renting it out to trusted neighbours,” he said.
”It means people feel more comfortable getting rid of their car and using public transport and walking and riding because they know at the times they need a car, it is readily available.”
Most users pay a monthly fee, which for car owners includes comprehensive insurance, plus damage cover for borrowers. Lenders then receive up to 75 per cent of rental proceeds.
Lenders set their own price – ideally $5 to $15 an hour or up to $55 a day. To allay fears about lending out cars to strangers, borrowers undergo a driving history and credit check.
Rachel Botsman, the author of What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, said the concept is part of a burgeoning economy that includes the errand sharing website Airtasker and the classified ad website Craigslist, where skills and assets are shared or traded through social media.
”There is a sustainability benefit where you are actually making more efficient use of resources, and there is the economic benefit. This is hard cash in people’s pockets,” she said, adding lenders in the British car-sharing scheme WhipCar made up to £12,500 ($19,700) a year.
Matt Der Sarkissian, 24, of Bondi, cycles to work but hopes to rent a car through Car Next Door about once a fortnight. ”Sometimes I go away for the weekend, or you have something to pick up and you can’t cycle or carry it on public transport,” he said.
Sarah Evans, 51, also of Bondi, catches public transport to work in the city each weekday, and had been considering selling her Volkswagen Golf before signing up to the scheme as a lender.
”[The car] sits idle on the street most of the time. I’m hoping to recoup some of the running costs for it … and hopefully it’s a way of getting to know the neighbours a bit better,” she said.
Do you think renting your car to people on your street would really improve your relationships with your neighbours?
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.