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Revolutionary new social sharing movements have drastically changed the way people view personal transportation in Asia and across the globe. Applications like GrabTaxi, Uber and iCarsClub make it easy for people to get around without owning a car, creating a new car-free movement that is quickly catching on with people of all ages. Car sharing programs offer convenience, affordability and reliability.
What is Car Sharing?
Car sharing is not a new concept, but with the use of technology, it has taken on a new form. Car sharing allows one car owner to share the use and expense of his car with other users, reducing the costs to both owner and user. Car sharing services are most common in urban areas, and are popular in large cities like New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
How The Programs Work
Using Web and mobile applications, car owners list their cars as available and connect with drivers looking for a set of wheels. Some apps like Uber operate as a taxi service, allowing passengers to simply find and request an available car from their smartphones, lining up a ride in minutes.
Studies have shown that many people drive their cars for less than four hours a day, and car sharing programs allow them to make a profit from the other 20 hours when their car would normally be parked.
Car Sharing: Good or Bad?
There are both fans and detractors of the new car sharing programs that some hail as the future of transportation and others feel is the death knell for many industries. Fans of car sharing posit that the trend keeps carbon emissions out of the air, helping to stop the depletion of the ozone layer. These supporters claim that car sharing reduces the amount of overall driving as trips are more consolidated and the rate of aimless driving is decreased.
There are some, however, that argue against car sharing. They argue that people who would normally use public transit, in the form of the MRT or rail system are now switching to car rides. This, they claim, contributes to air pollution and increases the carbon footprint in the region. In addition, auto makers are less than enthused with the car sharing programs in Singapore and across the globe. An industry which held almost a monopoly over transportation choices for decades, automakers lose sales every time someone chooses car sharing over full time ownership.
According to industry estimates, automakers have lost more than 500,000 new car sales in the past decade. This means not only a loss of revenue for the automakers, but a decline in the number of jobs for people who depend on the industry for their livelihood.
Car sharers in Singapore and other locales in Asia are not fazed by these dismal reports from automakers. They have been signing up in record numbers to take advantage of services like Uber, Lyft and GrabTaxi which will pick them up at their door and deliver them to their destinations for far less than a traditional taxi.
The use of smartphones as dispatchers have made these options overwhelmingly appealing to younger consumers, a group that advertisers often fight to win over. The car sharing trend is holding its own and is showing no signs of stopping or slowing. With new sites and apps allowing potential riders to compare prices (not Globally, yet…)
This site will tell you how much your ride will cost with Uber and Lyft, right now
When the idea first burst on the scene around 2006, many people thought it was simply a passing fad for a few extremists who chose to live unconventionally without cars. Automakers were not overly concerned—after all, only a few areas of the world have public transit systems that are comprehensive enough to allow them to go completely car free.
It did not take long to see that they had greatly underestimated the popularity of these services. Before long, they had spread from the major urban areas and were servicing people in the far reaches of the most remote and rural areas imaginable. It was not long before they started to feel the pinch from the car sharing trend.
New Opportunities for Entrepreneurs in Asia
One of the biggest advantages of car sharing services is the potential to bring in additional revenue for intrepid entrepreneurs. Uber’s drivers are just ordinary citizens with cars who will pick you up for a fee. The drivers get the bulk of the fare while the company keeps a small portion. Uber is quickly becoming a major employer for those who are looking to supplement their earnings. In some cases, Uber represents the bulk of income for the entire household.
While car sharing is a breakthrough in personal transportation for the select few who choose to live car free, the reality is that personal car ownership will never die altogether. Car sharing programs help to reduce the carbon footprint, making them an environmentally friendly choice for the masses that depend on them for trips both long and short.
In addition, these new programs allow car owners to make money by renting out their cars and providing informal taxi services, thus boosting the economy and bringing much needed funds into the marketplace. Automakers have wised up and have taken advantage of this new trend, and some of the major automakers have rolled out their own programs that allow them to get in on this highly profitable movement.
Whether you are planning a short trip to pick up a few things from the store, or renting a car to visit relatives far away, car sharing services represent convenience and value. Changing the way we view personal transportation, these services have made it possible for some to go car free altogether, a move that can be considered either good or bad, depending on your perspective.
Mobile and Web-based Applications like Uber will pick you up at your door, providing you with quick and personalized taxi service that is unsurpassed. iCarsClub is growing in popularity and expanding to China as a viable alternative to taking on the huge expense of buying and maintaining a car full time. These services have shown us that going car free is not only feasible, but desirable.