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Difference between Car Sharing and renting a car

Carsharing concept

What is Car Sharing?

Car Sharing only started to become popular in recent years in the United States and Europe. Now, it’s growing in Australia. It’s a similar concept to renting a car, but there are differences. Car Sharing can occur through casual sharing via a website, but there are also professional Car Sharing companies, which organise everything for you.

How does Car Sharing work?

Car Sharing is charged by the hour, including insurance and fuel. Free mileage is capped, with per kilometre charges for extra travel. Share cars are also distributed around cities, close to where people live and work, which isn’t always the case with rental cars. Instead of filling out lengthy paperwork before each trip, Car Sharing just requires customers to register. This is usually done through an online registration form. You’ll also have to present your details such as your drivers’ license and credit card.

Some organisations are free while others may charge a joining fee. You’ll then be able to use a mobile phone app or website to book a car, with either your Car Sharing card issued by the company or a smart phone app giving you access to the vehicle. So in short: you don’t have to drive to a car hire shop and meet somebody to pick up the keys. It’s quicker and simpler.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Car Sharing?

Car Sharing is ideal for people who need a car right away and for a shorter period of time. It’s also great for people who don’t drive everyday and live in densely populated cities. In inner city areas, owning a vehicle can be inconvenient due to additional costs and a lack of places to park.

Car Sharing is a flexible solution, which allows you to pick up and drop off the car in designated zones, but without having to hand over a key or have somebody come and inspect the vehicle. However, keep in mind that there are limited options for one-way rentals between city zones.

Brianna Piazza is an Australian television reporter and part-time travel blogger. Originally from Melbourne, she's currently living in Cairns where she works for WIN News and spends her weekends exploring the outdoors Far North Queensland.

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