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Brussels extends car sharing service with Getaround
The City of Brussels has given its approval to a new car sharing service, Getaround. Formerly known as Drivy, Getaround will use some 24 parking spots in 12 central areas of the capital including Brussels Central Station, rue Dansaert, the Sablon and Yser metro. The contract with the city council has been signed for five years.
Car sharing services work either with fixed stations or when the user can leave and pick up the vehicle in different locations. The key feature of Getaround is that local people can leave their car for other users at set times and places. Getaround is also primarily digital. Users can reserve, pay and unlock the cars 24/7 via their smartphones.
The company proclaims itself the world’s carsharing leader – with its fleet of shared, connected cars present in more than 300 towns in eight countries, including the US, France and Norway. There is no subscription fee, and payment to use the cars, that includes insurance and road assistance, is by the hour, day or week.
Brussels is not new to car sharing – with the Cambio scheme running since 2003 and electric car-sharing company Zen Car from 2011. According to the Journal of Research on Brussels – Brussels Studies - some 25,000 people use shared cars in the capital. However, while the study shows a private car is used just 2% of the time, compared to 7% for a shared one, take-up has not been as successful as the industry would have liked.
BMW’s DriveNow car sharing service had to leave Brussels on 29 February as it was not making enough profits to continue. And Zen Car, severely affected by the coronavirus crisis, is looking for a buyer. In general, usage remains too low, maintains Zen’s chief executive Laurent Carion, with Belgians, “having difficulty switching to car-sharing”.