A cooler blend of culture

Car sharing: the latest chapter in the new share economy

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With more and more people looking for ways to push their dollar further, the financial burden of ownership is no longer something that has to be suffered. In this brave new world of ‘sharing economy’, what you own no longer owns you but can be put to work to earn you money. Everything from parking spaces to spare rooms in your home have now become potential sources of income.

Even that once-mighty symbol of ownership, the automobile, has found a place in the sharing economy. With the costs of running a car skyrocketing in recent years (insurance, petrol, registration), referring to this ‘pride and joy’ has taken on a bitter irony. But now thanks to the wonders of technology, car owners have a way to earn money on said asset. As with most things these days, finding those people who are looking for a car to ‘share out’ and ‘share in’ is just an app download away.

While this might all sound hunky dory, there are some issues that are worth considering. Trust is perhaps the most obvious one, with complete strangers taking possession (short-term, I know) of one of your most valuable assets. There are also limitations with where the car-sharing concept can be implemented. While it might be a perfect fit for those living in inner-city areas where cars are more likely to be unused for extended periods and thus can be shared out, over in the suburbs, having your own transport is still a major necessity.

These issues aside, the car-sharing concept is already being embraced in Australia. In Melbourne and Sydney, people have begun hopping in and out of strangers’ cars with no major issues so far. Perth is looking to adopt the concept in the near future, with some local councils already throwing their support behind the initiative.

As we are constantly being reminded, greed is decidedly not good, leading as it does to environmental devastation and economic collapse, so let’s keep sharing instead.  Chris Prindiville

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