Written by Stephen
In this time and age, if you’re still driving your own car on a day-to-day basis, then it’s time for you to get up to speed with the new and innovative modes of transportation available.
Within the past few years, there are new terminologies for how we get around places.
‘Car sharing‘, ‘ride sharing‘, and ‘ride hailing‘ have cruised into many cities around the globe, as people are going car-free in order to save money and live a environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Not to mention, apps on our smartphones are making it even easier for us to find any available rental cars and rides nearby.
Now, with the likes of terminologies about shared and sustainable transport options being constantly thrown around in everyday conversations, the actual meaning behind these buzzwords are gradually becoming muddied. Consequently, most folks have the tendency to use them interchangeably.
However, there is a fine line between these terms, as each of them is uniquely different in their operations. Hence, we’re going to explain and elaborate further into each one of these terms. So, buckle up!
As the saying goes, “Sharing is caring”. And you can’t spell ‘caring’ without ‘car’, can you? 😉
First things first, car sharing is a form of car rental. Nevertheless, what makes car sharing different from traditional car rental is that it is primarily designed for the convenience of people who wish to rent cars for as long as needed – at any hour, not just business hours – and subsequently pay according to the duration of usage – usually by the minute, hour, or day.
Aside from that, car sharing is a great alternative to owning a car. To kick-start your car sharing experience, ideally, all that is required is signing up for a membership and pay a one-time or annual fee for the privilege of being able to make reservations anytime you need.
Car sharing can take a couple of forms. One is the free-floating car sharing system, like Car2Go and Zipcar. Essentially, users can find, book, and unlock a car via the smartphone app and proceed to drive around paying by the minute or hour. When done, simply park the car inside any operating area, even if it’s miles away from the pick-up point.
Here at GoCar, we apply the point-to-point car sharing system. For a start, users will be able book a car and pick it up from the designated parking space at one of our many locations, then proceed to drive around paying by the hour or day, and finally bring it back to the very same parking space. Here’s how it works:
i) Book a car for the duration you need at your preferred location via our app.
ii) Launch our app to begin your reservation and unlock the car by following the simple steps.
iii) Use the pin code provided to unlock the keybox in the glove compartment.
iv) Kick-start your journey. Don’t forget to return the car on time. You can also easily extend your trip via our app.
Moreover, acquiring a car using our app is easy and convenient for anyone. For a start, members can #TakeGoCar anytime as GoCar service is available 24/7. Not forgetting, with the cashless payment system – via credit/debit card – and the fact that there is no human interaction needed in order to secure a booking, GoCar offers a seamless car sharing experience.
Moving on, car sharing service lets you drive a car whenever you need to, with or without making prior reservations. However, when the demand in your area is high or if you desire a particular car model, it may be wise to make a booking in advance.
Let’s also not forget the entire notion of ‘sharing’ in this spectrum. Users are encouraged to treat the car as their own, not only to instill a homely-sentiment when travelling, but also to maintain the cleanliness of the car and further ensure that the next person to ride that car gets to enjoy the similar experience.
In essence, ride sharing is sharing spare seats in a car with those who are heading the same way, either on a one-off or regular basis; and this can be to and/or from anywhere.
Normally, in any ride sharing scenario, there may be money-exchange involved, alteration in driving arrangements, or it can be conducted simply as a charity of good will. To an extend, it may also be intended for the sake of a societal mission – increased mobility, environmental friendliness, and cost-saving.
To many of us, the term ‘ride sharing’ is known to be a synonym for ‘carpooling’. Such is the case if you were to hop into your neighbour’s car every morning to head to work together, because both of your offices are nearby. Ergo, it makes much more sense for the two of you to share a ride than to individually drive on your own to your respective workplace. After all, you’re both heading in the same direction.
Similarly, if you and your colleagues were planning to go out for lunch a wee bit further than the usual – which would require some distance of driving – wouldn’t it be wiser if everyone were to get into just one car rather than each one driving to and fro for themselves? Together-gether jimat-cermat lah! 😉
Well, that would be the simplest way of seeing what’s ride sharing or carpooling is all about. Having said that, there’s also the idea of ‘ride sharing’ going hand-in-hand with ‘ride hailing’ – if you have heard of GrabShare or uberPOOL (currently not implemented in Malaysia) before. Let’s get into that right after we cover what ‘ride hailing’ actually means.
Now, no doubt ride hailing is the one most of you have probably heard of – or even consumed, compare to the previous two services.
For a start, a ride hailing service encompasses a range of companies and services – including traditional taxis and car services. The underlying idea of ride hailing is that a customer temporarily hires a driver to take him/her exactly where he/she needs to go.
The old-school method of accomplishing this would be done via summoning a taxi by the streets, or even calling up for taxi service or personal driver on the phone. Nonetheless, in this digital age, we are able to virtually hail a car with a driver through an app on our smartphones with such ease.
Grab and Uber are the two major ride hailing platforms here in Malaysia, that operates at a fixed-fare rate. For the benefit of the doubt, a fixed-fare rate differs from the traditional metered-fare commonly practiced by taxis. Thus, an upfront fixed-fare will be determined for your trip as you insert your pick-up point and destination. As a result, you won’t be dealing with any surcharges on the time and distance.
What’s more, the process of hailing a ride via the app on the smartphone is rather elementary and easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone.
Firstly, you will need to download the app on your smartphone, and so does the driver on his/her end. Then, register an account with your personal details and payment info – if you would like to use your credit/debit card rather than paying by cash – as you open the app. Next, insert your pick-up location and your destination, and then proceed to hail a ride.
Subsequently, a driver nearby will answer to that request in his/her own personal car. In the end, when the ride is over and you’ve reached your destination, you pay either in cash or via credit/debit card – according to your choice of payment method during the booking.
Now that we’ve covered what ride hailing is all about, let’s go back to the concept of ride sharing + ride hailing. In short, this scenario acts as a carpooling service that matches one party with another party under one driver in a car, heading in the same direction – for a lower fare.
For instance, using GrabShare, passenger A hails a ride to Mid Valley Megamall. At the same time, passenger B hails a ride to KL Sentral – which is only a short distance from Mid Valley. Therefore, both parties would be matched under one driver and end up in the same car, heading to the same direction. Depending on the route and traffic, the passenger with the closest destination would ideally be dropped off first.
Ultimately, ‘car sharing‘, ‘ride sharing‘, and ‘ride hailing‘ are becoming increasingly important pieces of the bigger puzzle – our everyday mode of transportation. These services independently come with their own benefits, in account of finding the right balance between cost and convenience for all users.
At the end of the day, it is not only vital for us to know the differences between them, but also to understand and further acknowledge their crucial role in urbanising the world and the future of personal mobility as we speak.