Car-sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic

More than ever, we all need a safe and flexible way of staying on the move. As long as you need a way to get from A to B, we hope our car-sharing service can help fill in the gaps during these challenging times.

We've gathered some facts to help you decide whether car-sharing might be a good alternative for you during the Covid-19 pandemic 👇

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Car-sharing = Social distancing = Low risk

According to the German Federal Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR), people who own and drive their own car face a lower risk of infection. The French State Secretary of Transportation has been encouraging people to maintain social distancing during travel and, if possible, to avoid enclosed spaces such as public transportation. These sources have been cited and backed by other institutes, mobility providers, and others: Travelling with your own mode of transport is an effective way to maintain social distancing and to lower your risk of infection through airborne Coronavirus molecules. And if you don't have your own car, car-sharing offers a way for you to keep your distance during the pandemic while staying on the move.

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We've increased our hygiene measures

Since April 2020, we've been cleaning and disinfecting our cars four times more than usual. Our professional service team uses medical-grade disinfection chemicals to wipe down the interior. We pay particular attention to common surfaces areas, most of all to the steering wheel, gearshift, and handbrake. Numerous resources show that disinfectants don't remove germs from surfaces, but they certainly kill them. You may not see our stealthy ninjas at work, but you can be assured that they out there following Coronavirus hygiene regulations while maintaining the general cleanliness of our fleet. This year, we also introduced the option for you to pre-book a car with the Comfort Package for trips over 1 day – this package guarantees you a cleaned, fully disinfected, and fuelled up car delivered to the address of your choice.

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A short-term way to have your own car

Most experts recommend open-air travel such as biking and walking as one of the safest ways to avoid the airborne Coronavirus during travel. But in poor weather conditions or long distances, biking and walking may not be convenient or possible. About a quarter of people in Germany plan to drive their cars instead of using public transport during this pandemic, according to a McKinsey study. But not everybody owns a car and certainly not everyone is ready or willing to purchase a car in these times. Car-sharing offers short-term access to having your own car without the long-term financial commitment of owning one – filling in the needs gap during the pandemic. In fact, in a joint paper together with the Mobility Institute Berlin (mib), our Business Intelligence Team found that the average duration of car-sharing trips have increased this year compared to last year and that more users returned to car-sharing than to public transport this summer.

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Digital-first and contactless solutions

Cash is notoriously covered in germs. As the Coronavirus speeds up the adoption of mobile payment around the world, we're glad to say that we have been championing a digital-first and contactless approach to car-sharing for a decade now ;) Free-floating cars free you from unnecessary contact with rental offices or personnel. Contactless online mobile payment spares you from digging for spare change or touching your wallet. All our cars can be unlocked with a push of a button in the SHARE NOW app. In our BMW and MINI cars, you don't even need a car key to start the engine. All small steps that contribute to lowering your risk of contagion.

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On track to improve urban congestion

This isn't about right now, but about the future of our cities. Urban policy experts worry that the Coronavirus pandemic will increase demand for private car ownership, leading to a long-term problem with worse congestion in our cities and reduced use of public transportation. In a joint paper together with the Mobility Institute Berlin (mib), we find that car-sharing actively plays a role in keeping congestion at bay by fulfilling current short-term demand for a private car. As long as people have a way to share a car right now, they are more likely to continue using public transportation in the future.

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What you can do

Finally, there are a number of concrete things you can do to lower risk for yourself and other car-sharers. First, keep a car over a longer period of time instead of renting a different car for each trip. This ensures that the car comes into less contact with other car-sharers and lowers overall risk for everyone. Second, air the car regularly by opening the doors and windows. Numerous sources show that good air circulation is key to lowering risk of infection. As the Coronavirus is airborne, it's a great idea to roll down the windows and make sure you have good air circulation. Third, leave the car in a state that you'd like to find it. Don't leave behind tissues or potato chips. Take your trash with you. What you choose to do pays off in terms of increased hygiene and lower risk for other car-sharers – which ultimately benefits you, too!