Sharing arrives: carsharing industry registers more users
The car sharing industry in germany sees itself in the auind. More and more people are registering for the services, 350.000 user accounts added in the course of 2018. This is the result of the 2019 carsharing statistics presented by the bundesverband carsharing.
"After a period of stagnation, the market has grown significantly again," said gunnar nehrke, managing director of the umbrella organization. Most users are registered for so-called free-floating services. Customers are not tied to specific stations when they borrow or return cars. Stationless services account for 1.81 million of the total 2.46 million user accounts. In terms of fleet size, the car manufacturers daimler and BMW, which are currently merging their car-sharing services drivenow and car2go, already occupy first and second place among free-floating providers.
The merger between the industry groups does not worry nehrke. "Of course, this will create germany’s largest car-sharing company," but overall, there would be no new competitive situation in the market because providers would only offer their services in certain locations, while other companies would dominate the market elsewhere, nehrke said.
235.000 additional registrations were recorded by free-floating providers in 2018 overall, around 115.000 more users in station-based services. Mixed forms are also well received, according to nehrke.
More users also mean more vehicles: 20.200 cars were on the road in germany in january as a shareable good. Nehrke hopes that the trend will continue and that car-sharing services will, in the long term, cause people to forego the purchase of their own vehicle altogether.
Ferdinand dudenhoffer reacted to the new figures with caution: "there is still a lot of room for improvement," the traffic scientist from the university of duisburg-essen told the deutsche presse-agentur. "Car sharing is good and right. But the figures show that there is still a long way to go and that the significance is still very small," says dudenhoffer.
Christian hochfeld of the thinktank agora verkehrswende emphasized the importance of car-sharing services for achieving the 2050 targets agreed in the climate protection plan. In it, the federal government sets reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55 percent by 2030 and at least 70 percent by 2040. "We are still a long way from the targets," said hochfeld. He called for a "consistent climate and transport policy" and a "change in mobility culture", which is currently still too strongly interwoven with the private car in the car-sharing nation of germany.
The increase in ridesharing and pooling services, where users can share rides, was seen as positive by hochfeld and nehrke. However, the head of the association warned of "american conditions" and said: "we know from the USA that uber and other ridesharing services have damaged the existing public transport system to such an extent that it is no longer economically viable in some places."
In mid-february, federal transport minister andreas scheuer (CSU) presented a key point paper on changing the law on the transport of persons, which provides for a liberalization of the market for service providers such as uber.