Carsharing has developed beyond a B2C service that enhances individuals mobility options. Corporate carsharing, in a variety of forms, allows companies to divest of vehicle assets and contract with a service provider like Zipcar’s Fastfleet, to provide mobility for employees that need a car for work purposes. The financial benefits of switching from an owned fleet to a shared fleet have also also proven attractive to many cities and municipalities. Washington, DC and Vancouver, Canada have already made the switch and have great success stories to share.
Cities and municipalities contract with carsharing operators to offer a B2C service in their communities. To support the startup and reduce risk to the operator, the civic administration will commit to purchasing a specified quantity of driving time, providing a guaranteed revenue floor and a level of utilization that supports a larger fleet when launching. Cars can be reserved for the exclusive use of city employees during business hours and available to the general public on evenings and weekends, or the vehicles can be booked on a first-come, first-served by all users around the clock.
Carsharing has been proven to reduce private car ownership, reduce pressure on limited car parking resources and improve air quality through reduced vehicle miles travelled. In most applications, the city government is able to reduce its own costs, support sustainability objectives, and offer a transportation solution to its citizens that complements public transit and cycling and improves personal mobility. This week the City of San Francisco announced that they would consider reducing their owned fleet in favour of a shared vehicle fleet.