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Ride sharing has revolutionised Australia’s transport industry in the last 10 years, with travellers drawn to its in-app flexibility and convenience. Car sharing on the other hand, which generally sees vehicles rented short term by the hour or day, has been somewhat slow to take off.
However, that could be about to change, with two new additions entering the local market this past month.
Joining established players including Pop Car, GoGet and Kinto are Uber Carshare – a relaunch of Australian peer-to-peer car sharing platform Car Next Door, which the company acquired earlier this year – and car sharing marketplace Turo, which was previously only available in the US, Canada and UK.
Unlike Pop Car and Kinto though, vehicles are all privately owned, with hosts listing vehicles for hire via the app or website. And, rather than someone chauffeuring you around with an assortment of mints, you hop in the driver's seat instead. It’s a bit like Airbnb for cars.
With rentals available by the hour, day, week or longer and all booking and payment handled via an app, it's a fresh and uncomplicated spin on traditional car hire – no queuing required.
Tim Rossanis, Managing Director of Turo Australia, describes it as an opportunity for hosts to supplement their income, “while also helping to meet the increasing demand from both Aussies and international visitors during peak travel season around the country.”
Avoiding a potential ‘rent a bomb’ experience, there are specific eligibility criteria for hosts:
- For Uber Carshare, vehicles must be clean and well maintained, manufactured no earlier than 2001 with a value of $50,000 or less, and not modified in any way that changes its performance, among other things.
- Turo requires vehicles to be a 2013 model or newer, well maintained with under 200,000kms on the dial, and have a market value of up to $200,000.
A search for cars in central Sydney via Turo shows only a handful at this stage, like a 2021 Mercedes Benz GLB-Class SUV and 2019 Tesla 3. In the US, its ranks have included the Porsche 911 and Lamborghini Huracán, giving a tease of what may be in store locally.
The same search on Uber Carshare shows a much greater pool of available vehicles, such as a 2022 Kia Sportage, 2010 BMW 120i, and a 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander.
Uber’s launch coincides with the rollout of Uber Reserve Airport Pickups, and the new Uber Travel, which collates itinerary elements such as flights, hotels and rides in one place. November also saw the arrival of Business Comfort rides, featuring premium vehicles and top-rated drivers.