I’m Will, one of the founders of Car Next Door. As you might expect, my car is on the Car Next Door platform. But our car isn’t available as much as some others on the platform because we have two kids and my wife, Suz, needs to ferry them around.
Last week, Suz forgot to block out the car on Monday, as she would normally do. Darryl booked it for the whole day.
Suz always takes our sons (a toddler and a baby) to Tiny Kickers at 10:15 on Mondays. It’s about a 4km drive across Sydney to Kensington.
Obviously, she wasn’t rapt about the fact that she couldn’t have the car. When I gave her the directions for the nearest bus stop, she didn’t exactly hug me with glee.
Anyway, the car got picked up on Monday morning and Suz got out the door at around 9:40, with the kids packed in the double pram.
At 10:30 I called her. She didn’t answer. I assumed that her silence was an expression of how pissed off she was that I’d put our car on the Car Next Door platform and that she was being subjected to this.
A little later, I sent her a text – “How did you go?” – and sat back to wait for the explosion.
To my surprise, when the message tone sounded I saw this: ”I got 2 buses, dropped me right at the door!” She’s not the type to use emoticons, but I sensed a smiley face.
When I got home on Monday night, I asked her a bit more about the experience. To my great surprise, she said that the whole thing had been great.
The kids were much happier with the movement and the action of catching the bus rather than being plonked in the back of a car and sitting passively. Jack, in particular, loves riding on buses.
Once Suz had worked out how to use the Sydney Buses app on her phone, she had negotiated her way around easily.
In fact, it went so well that she has decided that she is going to make this journey (and other trips) on the bus rather than in the car in the future.
This experience would probably never have happened if we (um … I?) hadn’t decided to rent our car out through Car Next Door.
This was a potentially transformative moment for Suz, realising that other modes of transport are just as good as – or sometimes even better than – the car.
As a husband, I’m happy that this went well and that my wife is still speaking to me.
As one of the founders of Car Next Door, this literally brings home to me the reasons why we’ve worked so hard to make this happen.
We give people the opportunity to have these “aha” moments.
They might discover that it’s possible – even preferable – to live without owning a car. If they rent their car out on the platform, there might be a time when they (or their partners, or their kids) have to think “OK, my car is booked. What other options are there to take this trip?” (For a great way to see and compare your transport options, check out TripGo or Google Maps)
Our purpose is to provide more and more of these moments to more and more people who car share in Australia. Every person who has a moment like this one tells someone, and the idea spreads, and all the reasons why we are doing this become a reality.
It’s an incremental and slow process to change a habit that’s as ingrained in a society as car dependency is in ours. It’s going to be slow. But it is happening – and we are proud to be at the heart of it.