What are Car-Sharing Schemes?
One major roadblock to giving up your car keys is the actual need for a car. Because of this, more than 40 US cities offer car-sharing "schemes" that offer extremely cheap low-hassle cars.
Let's assume that a guy named Tom Smith lives in Los Angeles where cars are more prevalent than people. He is more than committed to not making use of his car. In fact, his beloved Jeep Wrangler hasn't left the garage since August 2005, all because of the car-sharing scheme offered by Flexcar.
If the subway or bus isn't available for any reason whatsoever, Tom simply goes to the Flexcar website to search for and book cars that are parked in various garages and lots around Los Angeles. Once has arrives at the car he has chosen, Tom can open its door with his membership card through a reader that has been installed on the windshield. The can easily be found in the glove compartment, giving him the chance to drive away when he pleases. The car can be returned whenever he wishes to do so.
With this scheme, Tom has no need to face paperwork or long lines at car rental counters. Plus, all the expenses that usually come with a car, such as insurance, gas, maintenance, registration, and car washes, are all taken care of with the $10 hourly fee and $40 annual fee that he pays.
Flexcar is a company based in Seattle. Their members spend around $80 monthly on their scheme, which is much lower than the $863 monthly cost of keeping a regular car in the city of Los Angeles.
Does Car-Sharing Make a Difference?
Tom claims that this car-sharing scheme is much easier for both his conscience and his wallet. Tom also claims that he is no longer dependent on foreign oil.He used to drive his Jeep for 12,000 miles annually. It is this kind of sensibility, matched with the sudden rise in oil prices and media attention, which has boosted the reputation of car-sharing schemes.
In the United States of America and Canada, there are now more than two dozen car-sharing agencies available and more are coming to fruition as we speak. Even the amount of people using this scheme has risen significantly since it started in 2005.
The majority of car-sharing schemes tend to focus on their low cost and utmost convenience, but a lot of other people like to see car-sharing as a cure for certain environmental problems, such as pollution and congestion. Each shared car replaces up to fifteen private cars.
Car-sharing seems to do extremely well as a commercial venture in areas where there is good public transit. The users of these car-sharing schemes are usually those who need cars for short errands or spontaneous trips.
Tom has even gone so far as to say he will be getting rid of his car completely very soon. He is just waiting for more Flexcar locations to appear closer to his West Hollywood home. But he is very confident that it will be done soon and he can say goodbye to his Jeep and hello to a whole new way of driving.
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