Car sharing allows people to access a vehicle for short–medium periods of time, without the hassle and expense of owning and maintaining a car. A recent study found that Germans underestimated the cost of running a car by almost 50% due to hidden costs such as insurance, repairs, or parking: costs that are now being cut out by car sharing.
Similarly, operators are equipping cities with larger fleets and municipalities are recognising car sharing as a valuable complement to pre-existing public transport infrastructure. The expansion of these fleets is hardly surprising. It has never been easier to car share; from pricing to booking, users are able to follow and track every step from their phones.
But convenience is just one part of the industry’s success. With the growth of 100% electric services like Zity and GreenMobility, there is no doubt that car sharing is cementing its place as one of the key pillars in today’s mobility scene.
In this article we’ll discuss 3 cities with mature car sharing markets, how they have evolved, what regulations there are, and which operators are present. They are:
Madrid, the bustling capital of Spain, is at the forefront of innovation in the shared mobility industry and has become a hotspot for progressive transportation solutions.
The city's political will and dedication to reducing emissions and traffic has been the main factor in the expansion of electric and hybrid car sharing services.
Controlling congestion has long been on the minds of Madrid’s transport authority. Population density is at an all-time high and roads were growing more and more congested, creating a tremendous appetite for a convenient alternative of getting-around that situates itself between the speedy exuberance of micromobility services and less modern models of private car ownership. The Madrileños clearly agree: one in twelve Madrid residents subscribes to one of the leading car sharing providers.
Zones in Madrid
- Share Now: Users can park and charge the car for free at Share Now’s charging hubs.
- Zity: Serves neighbourhoods beyond the M-30 including Hortaleza, Pinar del Rey, Mirasierra, Montecarmelo, Fuentelarreina, Simancas, Salvador and Valdebebas.
- Voltio: Cars can circulate without restrictions throughout Madrid and park for free in regulated parking service.
- Wible: Parking outside the main perimeter is possible in IFEMA, Alcobendas, Pozuelo, Majadahonda, as well as a service at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport.
Either side of the banks of the Danube River, Budapest has evolved to embrace car sharing as a practical and flexible alternative to traditional ownership. By changing pre-existing parking infrastructure and welcoming car sharing, Budapest can adapt to the changing mobility needs of its residents while preserving its cultural heritage.
There are still certain regulatory obstacles due to the city’s two-tier municipality structure. This impacts how operators are able to design their operations and decide where free-floating cars, mandatory parking zones and off-limit zones can be placed. However, despite some resistance from regulators, studies suggest that two-thirds of people in Budapest would support converting one in every 200 parking places into car sharing stations.
Indeed, residents of Budapest have quickly become accustomed to the next step towards the future of mobility, and Share Now Hungary reports that 44% of their customers now no longer own a car. Similarly, in a joint-survey, Inspira Research Group found that 40% of residents have travelled by car sharing car at least once.
Zones in Budapest
- Mol Limo: Users can take the car out of ‘the Limo Zone’ and travel anywhere in Hungary, but can only complete the rental process permanently within the zone.
- Share Now: Within the Share Now Zone, on public parking spaces, you can start and end all trips for free. There are also drop off zones outside the city centre are available for an additional fee.
- GreenGo: Serves 100km² and has recently established discounted parking zones and charging points–including some at Budapest’s International Airport
With an extensive network of cycling lanes, an efficient public transportation system, and a commitment to reducing car traffic, Amsterdam has become a prime example of eco-friendly urban planning. They’ve embraced the car sharing industry as part of its broader vision for sustainable transportation solutions.
Despite popular belief, the pedal-powered capital is still suffering from significant levels of traffic congestion in and around the city. For residents, automobiles accounted for almost 20% of all journeys in Amsterdam in 2021—and 55% of trips undertaken by visitors.
Now, city leaders are seeking solutions to these issues:
“The city is growing. The space is not. With more people, we need to have different ways of living together.”
– Melanie van der Horst, Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam
Amsterdam has gained over 189,000 residents since 2000, and it forecasts 250,000 new residents in the city by 2050 taking the total population to around 1,175,000.
Despite efforts to reduce congestion through the removal of parking spaces or banning car traffic in certain areas, the best solution for a city whose residents and visitors are still attached to travelling by car may be found hiding in plain sight. If the city is keen to stick to its plan of banning all gas and diesel powered vehicles by 2030, then removing private vehicles from the road through car sharing should go a long way towards achieving a zero-emission future: 50% of shared mobility in Amsterdam is already electric and is set to be 100% by 2025!
Zones in Amsterdam
From Left to Right: Share Now / GreenMobility / MyWheels
- Share Now: Cars can be parked for free around public parking spots in Amsterdam. Users can end their trip anywhere inside the Amsterdam ‘Home Area.’ There is a surcharge to pick-up/drop off a car at Schiphol Airport (€8.99).
- GreenMobility: GreenMobility operates in an area called ‘The Zone’, and this is where you can start and end your trip. ‘The Zone’ also includes part of Amsterdam Zuid-Oos.
- MyWheels: MyWheels operates a ‘zone-floating model’ that allows cars to be picked up within a zone and placed back in a zone at a public charging station
The low down
Around the globe, the dynamic mobility ecosystem is shifting before our very eyes; changes in cities like Madrid, Budapest, and Amsterdam underscore the growing demand for sustainable mobility solutions. Customers are gravitating towards electric vehicles and the not-so-distant EU ban on carbon-emitting cars from 2035 remains a constant reminder that electrification of these fleets is not a choice, but an inevitability.
There remains only one question for the road ahead: which municipalities will lead the drive to this next step, and facilitate the expansion of electric fleets? For it is only through the support of public policy that operators will be able to run profitable electric operations. In Madrid, the alignment of political commitment with car sharing operators has produced an infrastructure that provides cheaper alternatives for customers, reduces carbon emissions, and supports a more sustainable mobility landscape.
It’s clear that the success of car sharing hinges on accurate data-driven insights.
Fluctuo empowers cities and operators with invaluable real-time data to shape the car sharing industry’s trajectory towards greater efficiency and sustainability.
Fluctuo is the leader in mobility enablement. We provide key stakeholders with the most exhaustive, accurate data on the market to accelerate the growth of shared mobility.
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