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Car sharing is taking over in Australia’s cities

Andrew Munro 7 April 2017

shutterstock new cars showroom 738x410

Awareness has reached critical mass, where it's biggest.

The latest Roy Morgan research poll shows car sharing has reached critical mass among key demographics, with 55-56% of Sydney and Melbourne residents aware of them, and the potential savings to be had. In the words of Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, "Our cars sit idle for 23 hours a day on average," and car sharing may be a way to get a ride only when you need it.

This tipping point of awareness might signal the start of more rapid expansion of ridesharing services.

One of the most startling results was the disparity between locations where people were aware of car sharing. In NSW 43% of people knew about car sharing and how it works but 55% were on board.

Results were similar in Victoria, with 49% knowing of it, while 56% of those in Melbourne were aware.

Only 36% of those polled, overall, said they were aware of car sharing services, a low figure that might surprise city-goers who are now used to seeing carshare logos on the streets.

Perhaps this is unsurprising, with a wide range of car sharing apps like Uber being dependent on having enough "everyday" drivers around to make it work. Some of these rideshare apps also operate on the basis of connecting commuters on the same route who want to carpool to save money, which works a lot better in cities where there are enough people on the roads.

Similarly, competition among rental car providers and the need to have the right cars in different locations means there are a lot of discounts to go around, especially for one way hires which can be an incredibly ecumenical solution for someone who just needs to rent a car to move, or wants to do some heavy lifting.

As Levine went on to say, "the car in the Aussie garage is not always the right car for the job... car-sharing enables Australians to have a large SUV when they need to... or a small car for that quick trip into the city." Car insurers are taking notice and many have now adjusted policies to cover ridesharing drivers.

However, in many places, car sharing remains unnoticed. 77% of people in Tasmania and 78% of those in Queensland and Western Australia were unaware. Car sharing has its place and car sales may be dipping slightly in 2017, but if you need it and drive it there's still no substitute for buying your own car.

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Picture: Shutterstock

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