Swapping your car for car sharing in Melbourne will not only save you hundreds of dollars, it will also help reduce the number of cars on Melbourne’s roads. Car sharing provides access to a car for as little as $5.00 an hour, without any of the nasty costs of owning a car, like depreciation, insurance and registration. With five car sharing businesses and a choice of vehicles dispersed across the city, car sharing has never been easier or more affordable. We’ve put together a users guide to the best car share in Melbourne, with:
- A list of all the car sharing providers
- The differences between providers
- A price comparison based on three typical Melbourne car trips
- The financial and environmental benefits of car sharing.
What is car sharing?
Not so long ago, car ownership was regarded as essential for most people. But with the growth of the sharing economy, and advancements in mobile technology, car sharing is providing an affordable and easy to use alternative to owning a car.
The concept of car sharing is simple. Customers register online (or via an app) and can search for and book a car located in their neighbourhood. There’s no need to visit a rental counter or even pick up a key. At the end of a journey, the vehicle is returned to the same location.
Car sharing is different from traditional car hire in a number of ways:
- Vehicles can be rented for a few hours, making it perfect for short, everyday trips.
- Cars are available in multiple locations, making it easy to find a vehicle close by.
- All bookings are online or via a mobile app. There are no in-person interactions required for exchanging keys.
- Customers can choose different plans to suit their level of usage.
Types of car sharing companies in Melbourne
There are two types of car sharing businesses; peer to peer and fleet.
Peer to peer
Car Next Door, which has over 1,600 cars available for rent in Melbourne, is a peer to peer car share. Peer to peer car sharing provides a platform for private individuals to rent out their vehicle when they aren’t using it.
One of the advantages of peer to peer car sharing is that cars tend to be more widely dispersed across the suburbs, making more cars available in more places.
The other type of car share uses fleet cars. Cars are parked on the street in designated car parks. Fleet car shares tend to be centralised around inner city areas.
Car sharing companies in Melbourne
There are currently five car share businesses in Melbourne. Each business differs in terms of the number of vehicles they have available for rent, and where they are located across the city.
The following companies provide car sharing in Melbourne:
- Car Next Door
Below is a summary of the main features of each.
Car Next Door
- Peer to peer
- Over 1,600 vehicles in Melbourne
- Free and paid-for monthly Plans
- Book by the day or hour
- Booking rate: from $5.00 per hour
Car Next Door is the only peer to peer car share platform operating in Melbourne. Car Next Door has the broadest reach of any car share business, providing privately owned car sharing vehicles throughout central Melbourne and the suburbs. Compared with other car share services, Car Next Door tends to be the most affordable for the most common types of trips. Prices start at $5.00 per hour and $25 per day.
- 140 vehicles in Melbourne
- Choice of annual Plans
- Book by the day or hour
- Booking rate: from $9.50 per hour
Flexicar is owned by Hertz car share. Flexicar is a fleet car share service and has 140 vehicles available in Melbourne. Cars are parked on the street in designated car parks (or ‘pods’). Flexicar offers three plans, based on frequency of use: Business, Personal or Student.
- 655 vehicles in Melbourne
- Monthly or annual plans
- Book by the day or hour
- Booking rate: from $6.50 per hour
GoGet car share Melbourne is the largest fleet car sharing service, with 655 vehicles. GoGet has a choice of plans, with hourly rates starting at $6.50 per hour and $76 per day.
- 60 vehicles in Melbourne
- Monthly plans
- Book by the day or hour
- Booking rate: from $5.50 per hour
PopCar is a small fleet based care share service, with 60 vehicles available to rent in Melbourne. PopCar provides a choice of pay-monthly plans. Hourly rates start at $5.50 and day rates at $59.
- Peer to Peer (corporate fleets & car manufacturers)
- Bookings from two days to 365 days
- Book by the day
Though DriveMyCar is a peer to peer platform, in many ways it works more like a traditional car rental business. It allows rental periods of no less than two days, customers must sign a contract each time they rent a vehicle, and keys are exchanged in person with each booking.
Who has the most cars?
Melbourne is a sprawling city of almost five million people. For car sharing to work successfully, customers need to be able to locate and book a vehicle at short notice, whenever they need one. The current car share businesses in Melbourne differ considerably when it comes to the number of vehicles they have available.
As the only peer to peer car share in Melbourne, Car Next Door has a choice of over 1,600 vehicles in suburbs all across Melbourne.
As the largest fleet car sharing business in Melbourne, GoGet has 655 cars. Flexicar has 140 cars and PopCar has 60 cars.
Where are cars located?
One of the big advantages of using a car share service over traditional car rental is convenience. With car sharing, vehicles are located in multiple locations across the city and suburbs, rather than being in a single location. This gives customers a choice of vehicles that are close by - often within their own neighbourhood.
The best car share business will be the one with cars available in your local area. This is where peer to peer car share has a real advantage over fleet based services. Car Next Door has a much broader spread of cars than any other car sharing company in Melbourne, with vehicles in the inner city and across the suburbs in all directions.
Car Next Door has over 1,600 cars available for short term hire, located across Melbourne suburbs. Vehicles are available as far east as the Dandenong Ranges, Frankston in the south, Melton to the west and Craigieburn to the north of the city. There are also vehicles available within a few kilometres of Melbourne airport.
GoGet has 655 fleet vehicles available throughout Melbourne, extending as far north as Bundoora, Dandenong in the southeast and Footscray in the west.
Flexicar has a small number of fleet cars in Melbourne, centralised around inner city suburbs, including Footscray in the west, Preston to the north, and Camberwell and Malvern to the east and south. Flexicar also has cars at Melbourne airport.
PopCar has a small fleet of cars in Melbourne, centralised in the inner city areas of Darebin, Port Phillip and Boroondara, with plans to roll out more vehicles in Carlton.
Comparing the price of car sharing
There are a host of different car sharing pricing structures based around how often and how long you need a car. The cost of hiring a car is based on the hire rate, distance travelled, and any membership fees charged. Choosing the best plan for you will depend on how frequently you hire a vehicle and whether you travel mostly on short trips of a few hours, or on longer day trips. Below is a brief overview of the typical costs.
Membership: Many car sharing providers offer pay by the month or annual memberships. Some, like Car Next Door, have free membership and customers just pay each time they hire.
Hire Time: Cars can be booked by the hour or by the day. Hourly rates are the best choice for short trips of a few hours, and day rates offer increased savings on longer journeys. For longer trips of more than about five or six hours it can often be cheaper to hire by the day.
Distance: Customers also pay for how far they travel. Hourly bookings are usually charged at around 40 cents per kilometre. Day rates are usually cheaper - between 20 and 45 cents, depending on the provider and the vehicle. Day bookings also usually include up to 150 kilometres of travel for free, which reduces the costs for longer distances.
We’ve put together some sample costs, comparing the main providers for three typical trips in and around Melbourne.
Price comparison #1: A short shopping trip
Distance: 8 km
Time: 3.5 hours
Kate needs to go to Bunnings to pick up some paint and some plants, as well as shopping for groceries on the way home. She needs a car for three hours. It’s an eight kilometre round trip from her home to Bunnings. DriveMyCar isn't included because they have a minimum hire period of at least two days.
|Car Cost||Fuel Cost||Booking Fee||Total||Go Get ($49 per year)||$38.15||$3.20||$41.38||Car Next Door (Free plan)||$24.50||$2.64||$5.00||$32.14||Flexi Car ($49 per year)||$47.25||$47.25||Pop Car (Free subscription)||$34.65||$3.20||$37.85|
Price comparison #2: A family trip to the suburbs
Distance: 54 km
Time: 7 hours
Alex is going to visit his Dad, who lives in Kallista, in the Dandenong Ranges. It’s a 54 kilometre round trip. Alex wants the car for seven hours. DriveMyCar isn't included because they have a minimum hire period of at least two days.
|Car Cost||Fuel Cost||Booking Fee||Total||Go Get ($49 per year)||$89.00||$89.00||Car Next Door (Free plan)||$29.00||$11.32||$5.00||$45.32||Flexi Car ($49 per year)||$79.00||$79.00||Pop Car (Free subscription)||$80.00||$80.00|
Price comparison #3: A birthday weekend at Lorne
Distance: 362 km
Time: 2 days
Angus and his mates are heading to a friend’s birthday at Lorne for two days. They plan to pick up the car on Saturday morning and return it on Sunday evening. The round trip from Narre Warren is 362 kilometres.
|Car Cost||Fuel Cost||Booking Fee||Total||Go Get ($49 per year)||$178.00||$53.00||$231.00||Car Next Door (Free plan)||$80.00||$119.46||$5.00||$204.46||Flexi Car ($49 per year)||$158.00||$102.18||$260.18||Pop Car (Free subscription)||$160.00||$65.50||$225.50||DriveMyCar (Free subscription)||$169.74||$52.40||$222.14|
What is the best car share in Melbourne?
The best car share in Melbourne will depend on where you live and how much you travel. While a car sharing company may provide a good choice of cars and attractive pricing, if there are no cars in your suburb, it won’t work. As Melbourne’s largest peer to peer car sharing service, Car Next Door has many advantages over other car sharing services.
Price & Coverage
With over 1,600 cars available to rent, Car Next Door has the most cars of any other car share business in Melbourne. Unlike other car sharing services, which have vehicles concentrated around the CBD, Car Next Door is the only service that provides a choice of vehicles across Melbourne’s outer suburbs as well. Car Next Door is the most cost effective, particularly for short trips of a few hours. While for longer trips of more than a day, other services like PopCar and DriveMyCar provide more competitive pricing, overall, Car Next Door still provides more cars across the city and greater access for people living in the outer suburbs.
Car Next Door has two Plans: Featherweight and Heavyweight. Featherweight has no ongoing fees and is the best option for occasional use. Heavyweight is the most cost effective Plan for people who travel at least once a month. There are no booking fees and damage cover liability (DCL) is also significantly lower on the Heavyweight Plan.
Car Next Door is also the best choice for the environment. As a peer to peer car sharing business, Car Next Door uses privately owned vehicles, rather than purchasing new cars. Every Car Next Door Car is estimated to take ten new cars off the road, which reduces CO2 emissions. Car Next Door also helps to offset their emissions by supporting Greenfleet’s reforestation projects across Australia.
The smarter choice
Using a car sharing platform, rather than purchasing a car, can save hundreds of dollars each year. The RACV recently crunched the numbers to find out and calculated the minimum weekly cost of owning a car is at least $115 dollars per week.
Car sharing helps save money, by providing a much more affordable alternative to car ownership. Users simply pay each time they need a car; there’s no annual registration to pay, no ongoing servicing, and customers are fully covered by insurance each time they drive. Car sharing also provides a convenient way for car owners who don’t drive much to offset their weekly expenses, by renting out their car.
As we’ve seen in the examples above, Car Next Door tends to be the most cost effective option for short trips around Melbourne, as well as those further afield. It also has no lock-in contracts. With Car Next Door customers can choose from a range of different sizes and types of vehicles - from small hatches, to SUVs and even vans to help move house.
Affordable introductory rates, quick registration and an easy to use mobile platform, makes car sharing a smart and sustainable choice for your next shopping trip or weekend away. No matter where you live in Melbourne your nearest car could be waiting just around the corner or next door.