Printer Friendly

Car sharing grows.

Car sharing in the United States and Canada appears to be growing rapidly as increasing numbers of people, especially those living in cities with good mass transit systems, seek ways to avoid the costs and hassles of owning a car.

Unlike the traditional car rental, car sharing generally involves an annual membership fee and hourly rates that include gas and insurance. Cars are stationed at numerous locations in city neighborhoods and are reserved online or by telephone. Customers access the keys and the car with keycards, and the charges are billed to their credit cards.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Car sharing firms have operated in several Western European countries since the 1990s. The industry got a later start in North America, but car sharing companies--the best known are ZipCar and Flexcar--have set up in a number of North American cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, as well as in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney. Compared to the number of people who own cars, car-share membership figures are small, though growing. In Germany, more than 80,000 people use car sharing services. In the United States, according to a recent New York Times story, ZipCar, Flexcar, and nonprofit car sharing groups combined boast over 70,000 members and nearly 1,200 vehicles. Each shared car can replace up to 10 privately owned vehicles.

Although the industry has seen a number of failures of startup companies, prospects look good enough that finding capital seems not to be a problem. Flexcar, for instance, was bought recently by Steve Case, the founder of America Online. Data from Germany suggest that car sharing is growing about 10 percent per year there.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Worldwatch Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:membership fee and hourly rates
Author:Prugh, Tom
Publication:World Watch
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Words:291
Previous Article:Spinning vinyl: companies kick out the PVC.
Next Article:"Green" medal for Torino.
Topics:


Related Articles
Managing a profitable tax practice; insights into what it takes to build a prosperous practice.
Niches for newsletters.
Hourly rates flip-flop in 1st quarter.
Membership and exhibit promotional letters for your state association or local society.
Providing you value.
In times of need: helping clients find elder law counsel.
More members in aged care.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters