The joy of car sharing

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The joy of car sharing

They call it ‘car-sharing’ – a title that doesn’t do justice in my view as really the nature of car sharing is precisely the same as that of car-rental but on a shorter lead-time; but calling it ‘short-lead-time-car-rental’ isn’t as catchy nor does the acronym ‘SLTCR’ spell anything interesting. Though that said, from now on I think I might refer to it as ‘SLuT-CaR’, if only for amusement value.

SLuT-CaR schemes exist in many cities around the world, but the scheme in Strasbourg is said to have been the first such in France. Initially launched as ‘auto’trement‘, a play on words that makes it sound a bit like ‘autrement’ (otherwise), the scheme was soon renamed France-Autopartage (France car-sharing) after they discovered that no-one could pronounce it.

Some take a view that SLuT-CaR is simply another way to own a car, and is meant for the poor folk who obviously can’t afford to have their own gas-guzzling combustion engine, and even those who understand that this is not the case regard the scheme as being so ridiculously expensive, that it isn’t worth the bother. But as long as that is a commonly held view, those of us who use the scheme will continue to wear a smug grin just below our noses.

For, if you’ve ever owned a car, you will know just how painful an experience it can be – financially and emotionally. The financial dis-incentives of ownership are reason enough to rent a car when you need one, but what ordinary renting does not offer is the convenience of ownership; having to book in advance, pick up and return during working hours, and fill out reams of paperwork each time. While you may not be able to find a parking space outside your home, at least with ownership you know a set of wheels is only a short walk away whenever you feel the need to nip down to the hypermarket to pick up fifteen crates of cheap lager.

And that’s when SLuT-CaR becomes a compelling reason to ditch your old jalopy; for it offers that convenience, and those lagers can be retrieved similarly, but with the added bonus of not needing to own the wheels in question.

Last night for instance I dropped the babysitter home at 11.30pm, having booked the car online at 11.17pm, picked it up at 11.20pm and returned it by 11.35 (to the reserved parking space a short walk from my front door) – and all I paid was 1.36 EURO for the privilege, that’s cheaper than a single tram ticket!

Of course I wouldn’t recommend SLuT-CaR if you intend to do a two week road-trip, but if you’re an urban monkey there is little reason to own a car in a city like Strasbourg.

Now, I’ll stop there because I need to go and pick up some lagers …

By | 2017-01-06T11:16:44+00:00 January 25th, 2009|Strasbourg|8 Comments

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8 Comments

  1. Sally January 25, 2009 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Sounds like a really good idea.

  2. Andrew Tattersall January 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    But do you not have to pay a big sum up front before joining and then a monthly amount as membership fee?

  3. Bart January 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    You have to hand over a 150 Euro security per household for the lifetime of your membership. It is 40 euro to join and 10 per extra driver. Monthly membership is 11 Euro for the first driver and then 4 euros for each subsequent driver. So yes, before you’ve even got in the car for the first time – you may have parted with over 200 euro for the privilege.
    I grant you, we were initially put off by the joining fees, however you have to put it into perspective and consider that this is peanuts compared with the cost of having an un-used car sit outside your apartment day-in year-out.
    I think this pricing is designed in a way to discourage a certain sort of clientèle … i.e. the sort who might regard a car as a comfortable place to spend the night (which is when the rental is free).

  4. Andrew January 28, 2009 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    You are right about it being cheaper as well as better than buying a car, also compares well with €135 to hire a car for two days when there will be the problem of finding somewhere to park it, which will probably add to the expense.

  5. Helene May 31, 2009 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Membership costs 16 euros a month and you also get a reduced rate on public transport in Strasbourg. So if you don’t use a car during the month, you are still onto a winner.
    There is no reason why you can’t take your Autrement car on holiday. It cost 22 euros per day last time I looked. Lots of people do take them away for a fortnight at a time.
    Regarding the name, France Auto Partage is national and covers several cities. Autremement or Auto Autrement is the Strasbourg branch.

  6. Fiona Sheils June 1, 2009 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Hi,
    right, this is slightly random but you mention dropping your babysitter home and I actually happen to be looking for clients to babysit for…
    So a bit of personal advertisement, I am irish, 17, live in the robertsau quartier of Strasbourg, and if ever your current babysitter isn’t available I’d be happy to step in.
    You can reach me on : 06 79 72 02 62

    Thanks,
    Fiona Sheils

  7. Bart June 2, 2009 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Fiona, your shameless advertising is appreciated. Now – are you Munster or Leinster?

  8. Bart June 2, 2009 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Helene, you sound like you know the scheme pretty well?

    Can you verify how we actually get the reduction on public transport? I’ve looked on the website – and it just refers me back to the cts site – where there is no mention of it?

    Sure you can take a Slutcar on two week holiday – provided you take your holiday no further than Colmar. (or Mulhouse and only use it to get there and back)

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