Car-sharing has been around in Singapore for about 15 years now, and it’s a good thing.
Basically, car-sharing is a personal transportation service that’s available on-demand, offering people the choice to hire a personal vehicle whenever they need one.
It’s part of the whole global shared mobility service movement, where users are given short-term access to a travel mode such as scooters, bicycles, and yes, cars, too.
And, nope, car-sharing isn’t the same as car rental. It’s not uncommon for people to think of the two as being synonymous, but there are some major differences between these services.
We break them down for you, revealing how and why car-sharing could be more beneficial than traditional rental, owning a car or ride-hailing.
Book & drive when you need, whenever you need
Usually, for car rental, you will need to rent the vehicle for at least a day, a week, a month or even a year. But, let’s face it; you’re not going to be all pedal-to-the-metal, all day, every day.
Car-sharing gives you the option of booking a car by the hour or day; no unused wastage there! Plus, unlike most car rentals where you might need to book your chosen ride days or weeks in advance, you can book your hot ride any hour.
And, in time for your hot date; urgent or last-minute booking is possible (even 15 minutes before picking your beau or belle up). Since booking options are available 24/7 online or through mobile apps, it’s both flexibility and convenience at a tap!
But, I don’t need it for a hot date…
No matter; car-sharing is for any kind of person. It’s really just ideal for anyone who needs a motorised vehicle. Whether you are planning to drive for a short period, live where public transport is a hassle, or require your own personal transport on occasion – say to run multiple errands or to multiple places, convey heavy items, or for emergencies – car-sharing is your smartest move to make.
But it’s especially great for control freaks because you can get right behind the wheel. Unlike ride-hailing services where you can’t really get to choose your designated driver, you can decide on how you like your driver (a.k.a. you) and the drive to be – slow and steady, fun and breezy, or fast and furious (but safely, please).
Pick up and go
Once you’ve reserved your automobile of choice, you can pick it up easy-peasy by unlocking it with your phone or the membership card of the car-sharing platform service that you’ve signed up for, with the keys already in the car.
No registering with all your relevant documentation and filling up of paperwork in person at a traditional car rental office; no manual collection of said keys; with the self-service return process equally fuss-free.
Dude, where’s my car?
Where to find your roadster-of-the-hour? Almost anywhere and everywhere. Instead of limited or central locations that could be far from where you are, car-sharing operators have their vehicles distributed and parked in strategic and easily accessible places islandwide. Specifically, it’s the MRT stations, commercial buildings and major HDB estates that are nearer to offices and homes.
And, will it be a hot ride?
Well, most (if not all) car-sharing operators can’t promise you the use of a Lambo or a Porsche, but they do offer enough in terms of variety and popularity. Think a fleet that could be populated with more commonly-used models of sedans, MPVs, cargo vans, hatchbacks and the like.
All fine and dandy, but the all-important question remains: Will I save money?
The short answer: A major “yes”. Forget about most of the usual expenses that come with owning a car: the monthly instalments, basic motorcar insurance, petrol top-ups (refuelling requirements are dependent on the car-sharing operator), season parking charges (only for when the car’s parked at the operator’s designated car stations) and even car wash fees.
And, with ultra-affordable rates, this pay-only-when-you-need service definitely costs you less than having a compact in your possession. Depending on the plan you opt for, it can be low as $0.54 an hour!
Though we can’t say the saving’s the same as when it’s compared to public transport fares, we can say car-sharing is way more flexible, comfy and convenient in terms of time saved.
Our top recommendations
You’ve read the reasons, now for the practical. Two go-to car-sharing companies to try: Car Club and Tribecar.
The former’s the first and original car-sharing provider in SG, while the latter’s supposedly the only car-sharing model in SG that allows for both commercial (driving for GrabCar for instance) and/or personal leisure purposes, with both offering specialised price plans to suit different lifestyles and needs. Visit their respective websites to find out what else they offer and which is more your speed.
BONUS: SAFRA members get to enjoy a SAFRA Special Rate or receive $25 driving credit (1-month validity) upon successful sign-up at Car Club. Click here for more information.
SAFRA members get to enjoy 50% off (capped at $15) for bookings at SAFRA Club Houses, a $0 deposit trial account, $15 off first booking with a minimum booking duration of 3 hours, or 20% off all premium categories of Tribecar Islandwide at Tribecar. Click here for more information.