Owning and driving a car was once seen as a great pride and privilege. However, times have changed drastically. While some people still find it necessary to own a vehicle due to their type of work or their location, many of us see cars as financial and physical burdens, especially people who live in big urban centers.
For most errands and outings, you can simply use public transport or hop on your bike. But there are times when having access to a private vehicle is necessary. In those cases, forget renting and opt for car sharing.
With car sharing, you can get a car quickly, without any complicated renting procedures, and all that for a very affordable fee. Once you become a member of your local car-sharing company, just book a car, use your phone to unlock it and return it when you don’t need it anymore—simple, fast, clean and contactless. If you need some other tips about car-sharing, here’s what every beginner needs to know:
Book in advance
Many people today are allowed to travel or enjoy their home cities again, which means there are fewer shared cars available for your use. The demand for shared cars is even bigger on rainy days. So if you know you’ll need a ride, check how many cars there are available and book your vehicles in advance. Your car-sharing provider will show you a list of available cars, so you can make reservations and not stay without your own four wheels.
Check your destination
Usually, you can’t leave the car somewhere outside the city, but even cities have certain no-park zones you need to know about. To avoid frustration when you reach your destination, use the app you get when joining your car-sharing company and see where you can leave the car in the area that you’re planning to visit.
Also, if you’re planning to travel outside your city or state, some companies offer their services in different locations. Check whether you can engage in city-to-city/state-to-state travel and whether you can leave your car in other cities.
Respect the deadlines
Shared cars have a specific location where they need to be returned. Car sharing is becoming very popular in Australia, and companies there have a policy that states that vehicles need to be returned to their pick-up location so other people can use them. This is why car share in Sydney tends to be so easy and seamless. The whole process is significantly faster and the chance for confusion is practically non-existent. If your provider doesn’t give you a specific location, be sure to ask, otherwise, you might be facing late fees or even steep fines. While you have the vehicle, it’s your responsibility to keep it clean and functioning until you return it to its designated location, so avoid leaving it in risky areas.
Inform if late
You usually need to agree on a time of return, and that deadline should be respected. To avoid any issues, it’s best to book a little bit more time than you need. Traffic jams can be bad or you might get held up with unexpected situations. In many cases, you can even prolong your time with a certain vehicle, but only if it’s not booked with someone else already. If you’re late, inform someone from your car-sharing company, especially if people are waiting to use the car. This will ensure everyone is handled and you don’t face any fees.
Fill up the tank
Different car-sharing services deal with fuel in different ways. In most cases, you’re not allowed to return the car with a tank that’s below ¼ empty. If the car is returned with less than 25% fuel, the company will follow up with the user and place a penalty fee you definitely don’t want.
Use your offered discounts
If you’re driving on a budget, then car-sharing is a great option for you. Also, there are additional ways to save money on car-sharing, especially when it comes to discounts offered in the form of free minutes for first-time clients and loyal users. You should also subscribe to your provider’s newsletter or follow them on social media to find out about updates.
In many cases, you can get a discount on rides if you bring in new clients as well. However, if you notice some too-good-to-be-true discounts, make sure to be skeptical and check for hidden charges.
Car-sharing has numerous benefits that include saving money, reducing pollution, reducing parking issues and traffic, etc. It’s cheap, green, flexible and practical—all a modern car user requires. So make sure to join your local car-sharing company and become a smart and eco-friendly driver!