Rental Cars Are the New Airbnb

OK, I admit I may be alone in this, but … is this really the way forward?

Sadly, I cannot read the article because of the paywall, so I’m not sure which way it thinks the market will go, and whether this is good or bad … so I’ll just have to share my own (humble) opinion :wink:

I have to say I was an early-ish user of AirBnB in Europe, and do still use it, but I think it has definitely lost its soul, and turned from an idea that could enrich society to one that only enriches a few privileged individuals at the expense of society.

The idea of that brand is that it helps us to unlock value from our homes by offering them to our peers, and thus helping each other AND creating new connections. At least that’s where it started, and the image it likes to present.

Now, in most cases, you are renting a property that was bought by a property management company, cleaned by a cleaning company, managed by a dedicated rental company, and you’ll never meet a local face.

Not only that, it has removed from the local property market a huge number of available (affordable) properties that could have been available to live in for local residents, leaving whole areas of cities empty unless it is tourist season.

Should car sharing go that way?

What I LOVE about Hiyacar is the fact that it makes better use of existing cars owned by people who either need a car themselves (but not all the time), or have an existing car that cannot (yet) be scrapped (not just sold to others), so is being used more effectively. We must find a way to stop the growth in cars on the road as there are already 35 million in the UK alone, up from just 22 million in 1996!!

If car sharing goes the AirBnB route, we’ll have ‘entrepreneurs’ buying up fleets of cars that get rented out, but kept on the road to maximise a return. Instead of cutting the number of cars a local community needs, it might be an incentive for someone to purchase and deploy more cars for business reasons, and in an attempt to maximise their own return, reduce pricing to a point it encourages people off public transport instead of just switching from car ownership. They might then also compete with people who simply want to make better use of their own car.

What makes hiyacar a better model (to me) is that it is not based on the management of fleets of cars (which is what many car-share businesses have done), but the focus on cars that are privately owned and cared for.

I may be being too negative, but I want to say that I would love to do what I can to protect the ethos that makes me want to be part of this “community”, so it is maybe worth having this conversation.

(ps this is not the case for fleets of commercial vehicles as I can see how this might be a way of making better use of commercial vans, for example)