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Community car share scheme launches in Bristol

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Graeme Banister is Mobility & Partnerships Director for Karshare, a community car sharing provider operating in Bristol. Car & Away, the parent company of Karshare, has been active in car sharing since 2017 and launched a park and earn service at Bristol airport in 2019. Sustainability is at the heart of Karshare’s mission – reducing the number of cars clogging kerbs in Bristol and making better use of those that remain is the goal.

In this blog plot, Graeme reflects on the impact Covid-19 has had on transport and the outlook for sustainable travel as we emerge from lockdown and get to grips with the new normal.

Of all the activities that constitute daily life the way we move has been one of the aspects most severely impacted by the pandemic. Public confidence in planes, trains, buses & taxis will take months, maybe years, to return to pre-lockdown levels.

So, what are the implications? The upside has unquestionably been an increase in active travel – walking and cycling – and with it a deeper appreciation of our own communities. New habits are being formed – long may they continue.

The downside is that government guidance to steer clear of shared / public transport has narrowed the options for those whose needs cannot be met by active travel. The private car meets this requirement but there are valid concerns that already congested streets will become more clogged as more drivers take to the streets.

So where is sustainable travel heading? As we move towards autumn what impact will cooler weather have on people’s motivation to walk and cycle? Will the space being handed over to active travel come under pressure as more people look to get around in cars? Until public transport is fully functioning again how can people reduce their dependency on the car?

The car is actually part of the solution. Society needs to embrace a new relationship with cars, one where some own but more are able to use. At Karshare, a new car share scheme in Bristol, we believe the solution is car sharing and to raise awareness we must first define what car sharing is.

Car sharing should not be confused with the form of vehicle sharing where people who typically work together and who live close to each other can be picked up or dropped off – this is lift sharing. Nor is it where a person makes a trip, typically of a longer duration, and offers up seats in their car for others heading to the same (or close by) destination – this is ride sharing.

Car sharing is personalised transport which aligns with travel guidance and comes in two forms, traditional and peer to peer (P2P), or community car sharing. The former is provided by businesses that park up vehicles in designated bays and make them available to rent. In Bristol examples include Co-Wheels, Enterprise Car Club and Zipcar.

Community car sharing allows individuals to rent their car to vetted people living in their neighbourhood. The renter pays for a vehicle, the vehicle owner receives the majority of the rental revenue. After the booking is confirmed the renter either collects the key from the owner or more conveniently via technology installed in the car that grants access to the renter at the booked time via an app.

Karshare is the only P2P provider in Bristol offering only the tech-enabled solution to its community. Once the tech has been installed by the provider the vehicle is ready for renters to instantly book.

Car sharing in all its forms offers reassurance (full insurance cover provided when rented) and sustainability benefits which will increase as more people join the car sharing movement.

See here for more information about Karshare, whether you’re a car owner or want an alternative to becoming one.

Transport, News & Information, Blog
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