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This is very useful indeed. Does anyone here use such services?

Dec 21, 2010
Business revs up for car-sharing companies

People put off by costly COEs seeking alternatives
By Maria Almenoar

CIVIL servant Jonathan Fong plans to visit family and friends over the Christmas weekend.

And as he and his brother normally share a car, he intends to rent another vehicle for those few days. 'It will be so much more convenient to run errands or visit friends,' said Mr Fong, 31.

Car-sharing businesses are targeting people like him, and are confident of getting more customers as the cost of certificates of entitlement (COEs) soars, making it harder for people to own cars. At the last bidding, COEs cost $40,000 for small cars and $60,000 for big ones, a 10-year high.

There are currently three car-sharing companies here - Whizz Car, Car Club and Kah Share - with 89 locations around the island, mainly in HDB estates. The companies work on a membership basis and have between them 4,780 members.

The companies started between 2003 and 2008 and are offshoots of a car rental company (Whizz Car), car distributor (Kah Share, which is part of Honda distributor Kah Motor) and car insurance company (Car Club, formerly NTUC Income's car cooperative business).

Mr Choong Tat Soon, head of rental and leasing at Kah Motor, the parent company of Kah Share, said it has received many inquiries about car sharing in the past few weeks.

'People are putting off buying cars and are waiting to see if the COE will drop. Meanwhile, they are looking at alternatives,' he said.

On Sunday, Kah Share, which has 16 locations and about 50 cars in its fleet, opened its newest one in the carpark of the new Housing Board precinct, Treelodge @Punggol.

In line with the eco-friendly nature of the development, Kah Share offers residents there hybrid Honda Civic models.

Kah Share said it set up a pick-up point there because it had received requests from Punggol residents for a car-sharing scheme in their neighbourhood.

Car companies said they choose their locations based on feedback from residents or on how densely populated an area is. They also favour sites near MRT stations and bus interchanges to make it more convenient for their members.

Users sign up as members by paying a one-time fee and a yearly or monthly membership fee.

They then pay for the car as and when they use it. Hourly rates range from $9 to $16 depending on the models, which include sedans, vans and multi-purpose cars.

Packages which cover business hours, night hours or the whole day are also available. Members make their bookings online or by calling a hotline. They then claim their car using a password that opens a locked box of car keys or a token which allows them to unlock the car and retrieve the car key from the glove compartment. If they return the car late, they pay additional fees.

Companies said that they have a range of users, but most are professionals.

Mr Francis Chong, assistant manager of Whizz Car, said there are many reasons they need to use the car.

'Some are property agents who need it for work, others need an additional car to drop off their kids at school because the husband has taken the car to work,' he said.

There are also those who need to transport bulky items like computers for repairs, or make a trip to the beach or do grocery shopping.

Car-sharing companies are looking to expand. Car Club, for example, will open two to three new sites every month next year in more HDB estates including Tampines/Pasir Ris, Punggol/ Sengkang and Jurong.

Trainee teacher Chen Zhanjiang, 25, welcomed such a service. He borrows the family car when he needs to but may look into the car-sharing scheme as there is one near his home in Redhill.

'It's definitely something to consider especially when more than one person in the family needs to use the car,' he said.
Quick facts

- There are three car-sharing companies: Whizz Car, Car Club and Kah Share.

- Registration fees are between $50 and $100, while annual membership ranges from $100 to $120. Companies also require a refundable deposit of $100.

- Members can rent smaller cars such as the Toyota Vios for $10 an hour and larger multi-purpose vehicles for about $15 an hour.

- Members, except those with Kah Share, can drive the cars to Malaysia but have to pay a surcharge of 30 per cent to 35 per cent of the hourly rental.
(21-12-2010, 07:07 AM)Musicwhiz Wrote: [ -> ]This is very useful indeed. Does anyone here use such services?

DISCLAIMER: I cover this industry in my work, so my views may be biased.

Car sharing is good for those who do not wish to own a car, i.e. do not see the car as a status symbol, but would like to have access to a car as-and-when the occasion calls for it.

I think its more value-for-money if you need a car for ad-hoc purposes, (e.g. family outings, picking up your kid from school, buying groceries) and not part of your daily commute.

Its a good way to supplement your public transport needs, i.e. bus, mrt and taxi.
This would be really useful for me, especially when I need to make those trips to Ikea.... A lot better than queueing up 30-45 mins for a taxi stand only to pay $20 for a taxi fare....
Hi thanks for the comments, guys.

Yes I believe such a service would be very useful for a special outing with family (planned ahead, of course) or for visiting far-flung places in Singapore.

But is it true that we have to travel to certain parts of Singapore to collect and return the car? That is pretty troublesome in itself. Undecided