Car sharing wins over more and more employees
Many French people still drive a personal car to work. According to the national statistics bureau INSEE, 41.5% of employees in the Paris region use their own vehicle, a percentage that rises to 77.9% in the provinces. However, a new social trend could alter that picture. In the last 10 years, car sharing has changed the way people get around. At first, car sharing was embraced as a practical solution for long trips, but now it’s increasingly accepted as a short-distance commuting option. Car sharing has many benefits: It’s cheaper, more convivial and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Not surprisingly, the number of websites offering regular car-sharing services has multiplied over the past few years. There are at least half a dozen in the Paris region alone. And the market continues to develop despite a certain number of challenges, such as the need for scheduling flexibility, ride matching, pricing and traffic uncertainty.
Linking car sharing to public transport
Companies play a key role in facilitating employee car sharing. Many of them have programmes featuring start-up technology platforms that allow co-workers to connect with others who are going the same way. Karos, a carpooling app with already more than 400 customer sites, is one such platform. Founded in 2014, the company has more than 100,000 users and provides 225,000 rides per day. Ideal for commuters in the Paris region (both the inner and outer suburbs), the Karos app is supported by a multimodal system combining car sharing and public transport. This means that anyone who has a Navigo public transport pass can travel for free. Karos customers include Total, Roche, Accor and the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance. During the past year, the latter has provided the car-sharing service to 13,000 employees at various Paris region sites (Paris-Bercy, Noisy and Ivry-sur-Seine) on an experimental basis. “I met new colleagues and was able to shorten my commute by half an hour,” says one employee.
Car sharing is also being taken up as a new form of transport in France’s large regional cities. The most popular platform is Klaxit (formerly Wayzup), available in eight urban centres. Klaxit provides 90,700 trips per day and has partnerships with 70 companies. It too offers free travel to users of public transport. Two other apps stand out among the multitude of car-sharing start-ups: Wever and OuiHop’. Both are free and neither requires a reservation. They’re the hitchhiking apps of the 21st century. Instead of sticking out their thumb, ride seekers use their phone to find someone going their way at the last minute. In exchange for their services, drivers receive points in the form of vouchers.
Whatever app is being used, car sharing is becoming an increasingly popular form of mobility in France. According to the Ministry of Transport, “traffic” has risen by 140% over the past four years. Moreover, according to a TNS Sofres survey, having passengers on board has a positive effect on drivers: They are less stressed, have better concentration and drive more safely.