Although in the short term, car rental services may encourage car use, they are still a step toward a congestion-free and more comfortable urban space in which parking problems and overcrowded streets will be a thing of the past, traffic experts are convinced.
There is one statistical problem with private cars – they are parked 90 percent of the time, and often even more. While private cars give people mobility and freedom, they take up a lot of city space, both when parking and driving.
Short-term rental cars throughout the city, which citizens can use with a driver’s license, partially solve this problem.
Car rental services have been around for more than 70 years
According to an American study published in the Journal of World Transport Policy & Practice, carsharing services were already being tested in Europe in the mid-twentieth century. One of the earliest attempts was noted in 1948 in Zurich, Switzerland, where the Sefage community (short for Selbstfahrergemeinschaft or self-managed community) brought together people who could not afford to buy a car. Despite the failure, various car-sharing ventures were tested elsewhere, such as the Procotip initiative in France in 1971 or Witkar in 1973 in Amsterdam.
How popular are car rental services?
In Estonia, Citybee and Bolt offer such a vehicle-sharing service. Lithuanian company Citybee began offering car rentals in and around Tallinn in October 2019. According to Citybee Estonia marketing manager Egert Kivisaara, they now already have more than 110,000 users, mostly among the younger generation. Bolt began offering the carsharing service in the capital only in early May.
Rental cars are more environmentally friendly
Even a Lamborghini rental in Dubai provides more environmentally friendly sports cars than any private cars. They reduce the overall need to buy a car and, consequently, the consumption of valuable minerals and metals is reduced. At the same time, rental cars are newer and more economical than the average 14-year-old car. In most cases, rental cars are not used for more than one year.
Why do rental cars contribute to less traffic in the city?
The more cars, the more we feel like we need to build more roads. At some point again, it seems that space has run out and we need to make more space for cars.
Urban space is not infinite. If you always build roads and parking lots for cars, at some point there will be no place to live. Then people will move out of the city more and more, and a dead circle will form where people will drive further and have to travel by car to get to the city.
Alternative modes of transportation, such as rental cars, create another spiral that reduces the carload and provides more space. Especially when combined with public transportation or scooter rentals.
On the one hand, the cityscape will be better and there will be more space for parking due to moving cars. On the other hand, there will be more space for those vehicles that serve businesses or carry goods.
There are several reasons, why rental cars are on the move most of the time, and they no longer have to idle in a parking lot or on the side of the road waiting for the owner. In many ways, this is an important issue not only for individuals but also for economic development and the operation of businesses. If traffic becomes too high, it will hamper business activity as delivery times for goods and services will increase.
Owning a personal car is expensive because the car needs to be insured and maintained. It doesn’t make much sense if the car is parked on the lot most of the time.
Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash
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