City bike share succeeds so will it work for cars?

City bike share succeeds so will it work for cars?

ARTICLE 5

City bike share succeeds so will it work for cars?

One of the most interesting transport trends in urban areas in recent years has been the rapid expansion of bike-sharing – another type of shared-mobility – points out Scott Le Vine, transport systems planner at Imperial College , a trustee of the shared-mobility charity Carplus, and a close observer of the rapid innovation in car-sharing schemes that is now taking place.

This latest concept, pioneered in GB by car2go, lets people use Smart vehicles for one-way urban trips, charging by the minute, with ‘free’ mileage and parking.

Brussels and Paris pioneered the concept of bike-sharing that can be used without pre-booking between handily located ranks in and around city centres, an idea since enthusiastically copied in London and elsewhere.

The Autolib car-sharing scheme in Paris begun in 2011 and now involving 1,750 cars, has helped prompt similar car share facilities in other cities, and the entry to the market of major suppliers including Renault, Peugeot and Daimler.

The latter’s ‘car2go’ is now successfully operating and growing in 17 cities in Europe and North America. London is a key target for one-way carsharing, as it has one of the world’s largest potential urban carsharing markets.

In the US, car2go first appeared in Austin, Texas, and since then has moved into Washington, D.C, Miami, Portland Oregon, San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle. It also operates in Canada and in Europe in Paris and Amsterdam, among other locations.

In London the launch of one-way carsharing has been low key, in three small and separate locations, but there can be no doubt about Daimler’s commitment to the concept. There is genuine uncertainty so far about the impacts, according to Le Vine.

Will people just ‘fill in’ gaps in their transport needs with CarShare or take drive-it-yourself cabs to work, and avoid the crush on the Tube? He points out, in his column on NewGeography.com, that “in the Zipcar model (soon to be the ‘Zipcar by Avis’ model?) you take a car on a round-trip basis and pay by the hour, like filling a parking meter.

The novelty of this new generation of drive-yourself cabs lies in their flexibility: as with a taxi meter, you pay by the minute for just the time it takes you to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’, then drop the car off and forget about it”

 Carshare Europe conference
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