With roads, carparks and the atmosphere becoming choked by the ever increasing demand for motor-vehicles, a US idea that promotes sharing rather than buying is providing a viable alternative that may help shape our future transport habits.
Flexcar is a mobility club that gives its members the key to new cars, trucks, and minivans within a metropolitan region. Users pay an hourly rate and Flexcar pays for the car insurance, parking, maintenance and fuel. The network of available vehicles include special purpose vehicles such as vans and higher end sedans but the standard car is a new model, four-door sedan like a Honda Civic.
Members are given a key or code that works in every Flexcar vehicle and reservations can be made anywhere from a year to a minute in advance.
Flexcar currently has operational fleets in California, Maryland, Washington DC and several other US states. Similar operations such as ZipCar (www.zipcar.com) are also using the share model and the first public bike commuting centres (already common in Europe) to also have opened in the US through www.bikestation.org.