Meet Alissa and Maree - they’re neighbours in St Kilda, Melbourne. Alissa doesn’t use her car during the week, and that’s when Maree often needs to drive to get to meetings across Melbourne. They share a car through Car Next Door.
Alissa has been sharing her Suzuki Swift car since mid 2015. She likes the fact that her car is being used by people in the community and helping to reduce congestion - and offsetting its costs at the same time.
"I often visit my mum up at the Dandenongs at weekends, which is really hard to get to without a car. I also need to get my stuff to pottery classes over in Brunswick on Saturdays. Carrying clay on the tram is really tricky! And I used to drive to and from work ... so I own a car. But now that I’ve changed jobs I can walk or catch public transport. I don’t use the car at all during the week.
I heard about Car Next Door from a friend at work who used it a lot, and then I saw a lot of cars around Melbourne with the stickers, so I googled it. For me it’s a real no-brainer because now my car is earning me money.
I really like the convenience of having a car when I need to drive, and the fact that it’s being used so much by the rest of the community during the week makes me feel better about owning it. It’s also really practical for me. When I had a car in the past, I found that the battery would often be flat whenever I went to drive it because I hardly ever used it. Whenever I wanted to use my car, I’d have to jump start it! Now I know that the engine is getting turned over regularly.
From an environmental point of view, I think sharing is great. It reduces the footprint from everyone having a car, to just one person owning a car and five or six people sharing it. It just makes so much sense.
I also find it really handy to be able to borrow other people’s cars. For example, when I moved house recently I borrowed a van and did it all myself - there were a lot of options nearby and it was just so easy. You don’t have to travel to get to the car - you can choose from a selection near you. If you’re doing your weekly shop or something, you don’t want to faff around with getting to and from the car.
I like the idea of sharing stuff. It’s just playing a little tiny part in reducing our impact on the environment, and the amount of things that are produced. If having my car available means that five people didn’t have to buy a brand new car, I think that’s pretty cool."
Maree lives around the corner from Alissa. She decided to live car free when her old car was written off early this year. Instead of buying a new car, she borrows Alissa’s car when she needs to drive.
"I’m launching a business, so not having to fork out for car costs helps me with cash flow to keep my business running.
I saw Car Next Door on Shark Tank and thought - that’s such a great initiative. Parking is becoming such an issue in St Kilda. I’m really aware of the parking pressure and I think this is such a great way to solve the problem. I also like that fact that someone owns the cars.
The only time I really need to drive is when I need to meet someone for work and there’s no public transport, or if I need to make sure that I’m there on time and don’t want to have to rely on public transport. Having Alissa’s car just around the corner is great. I like it because it’s small, it’s a manual and it’s really affordable.
With Alissa’s little car and using public transport a lot, I just haven’t had to think about buying a car. It’s the first time in my life that I haven’t owned a car, and it’s been great.
Alissa sent me a text a few weeks ago apologising because she hadn’t had time to vacuum the car before my trip and it was a bit sandy - I told her not to worry about it, but it was really sweet of her to ask!"