Mixed reviews for car-sharing services

Updated 2017-02-17 09:29:11 China Daily

Car-sharing services in China's mega cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing have been praised for convenience while others have complained about a shortage of cars.

Providing gasoline-powered cars and new energy vehicles, most car-sharing services charge potential hundreds of dollars as refundable deposits once they upload their identity cards and drivers licenses to register accounts.

After using the car-sharing service provided by a local company in Southwest China's Chongqing municipality, a woman surnamed Zhang said: "I feel it is really convenient to use the service. And it's also cost-friendly, as I spend only 99 yuan () driving a car of that kind for one day."

Drivers of the shared cars are mainly charged in terms of travel time and distance. Over the same distance and time, people spend less using car-sharing services than taking taxis, Fu Cong, from Yidu, a car-sharing service provider in Beijing, said.

Unlike Zhang, some users complained that it's not that convenient, since they had to pick up the cars at designated spots and return them to particular parking lots.

At some spots users don't need to pay parking fees, but when some are parked at public parking lots the next person who rents the car has to pay the fee to get out of the parking spot.

One challenge the car-sharing services have faced is not having enough cars to meet demand.

At the initial stage of development, the car-sharing services are limited by high operation costs due to vehicle prices, parking places and maintenance fees.

Many users complained that they could not access the cars when they badly need them.

Another concern raised was that as more and more shared cars become accessible, they will add to traffic congestion.

However, some insiders said shared cars won't bring extra traffic pressure because more people will choose the shared cars instead of buying private cars, particularly given the vehicle restriction policy adopted in Beijing.

Despite the initial difficulties, car-sharing services have many supports.

One internet user said they were used to driving the shared cars when in Chongqing while others said the difficulties would be overcome, and were optimistic about the idea's future.

By June 2016, China had a total of 135 million private cars, making about 260 million trips a day, according to the Traffic Management Bureau of the Public Security Ministry.

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