You must have heard of carsharing is a membership-based service made available to every qualified driver within a community. It is primarily designed for local users who wish to do their bit for the environment and support community transit. It has been there in Brussels since 2003 when Cambio was launched. In recent years, it has undergone a lot of popularity with many new operators coming into the carsharing space. Free-floating car sharing or FFCS enables users to pick up a vehicle, drive and park the car in some other location within its service area.
By 2017, almost 5 carsharing operators were in Brussels, including Ubeeqo, Cambio, and Zen Car that offered station-based carsharing. This lead to a 25% higher growth compared to the previous year, as 134 new locations were added at 42 additional stations. DriveNow and ZipCar were the 2 main providers in 2017 offering almost 570 cars in a limited operational area that catered to about 70% people.
It was mainly the young male population that was using carsharing services. The free-floating carsharing users were found to be slightly younger than the station-based users. Almost 50% of them were between 26-39 years of age. Moreover, majority of the free-floating users in Brussels were found to be male, and among station-based users, women constituted about 41.2%. Both station-based and free-floating users belong to the educated lots who have had university education.
The key reason why people choose to become members of carsharing services is because they typically do not own cars but they tend to need them occasionally. Moreover, carsharing is definitely better for our environment and it is a far more cost-effective solution than maintaining your own car. FFCS users are reported to have found carsharing a much better and more flexible means of transport than the public transport. Station-based users tend to have low rates of ownership while those who sign up for free-floating operations have high rate of vehicle ownership. You will find that most users will use carsharing very less; for instance, amongst FFCS users, 75% tend to use it only about once or twice in a month or even less; station-based operators get slightly more numbers. Furthermore, the average distance that free-floating users will drive is actually quite less.
It has also been seen that station-based users will choose carsharing for visiting someone, or for shopping while free-floating users typically use it for leisure activities like or driving to the airport. In short, free-floating users have professional reasons to choose carsharing services. Station-based users tend to use the public transport more often than do free-floating users.
To start using any of these services, you must register and subscribe online; you will then be provided with your own card, like a Cambio card. For this, you may need to submit your driver’s license and ID card. With a Cambio card in hand, you are free to hit the road. You must download an app for the purpose to book your first ride; the app is available 24×7. You should then pick up the car at a station and enjoy driving it for as long as you like, whether it is an hour, a day, a week, or even longer. You must however return your car on time. After a month, you will be sent a detailed invoice for the trips you have made; you must pay depending on the distance travelled and time taken.