Kate’s Ford Fiesta is a well-travelled car. “I’ve lived in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane over the past four years and have shared my car in each city,” says Kate. “It’s great because even when I move I can still rent my car out.”
Kate and her Fiesta first joined Car Next Door in April 2015, when Kate was living in Coogee, Sydney.
“At that time my car literally sat out on the street all day, every day. I caught public transport to work and on the weekends I was generally on the beach.”
Despite rarely driving it, Kate wasn’t keen to give up her car because she liked the convenience of being able to jump in the car if/when she needed to. She also had a prime dedicated parking space in front of her apartment, right on the beach, so it seemed a waste not to use it. That’s when she heard about Car Next Door.
“I was paying to have the car on the road with registration and all the other costs, so I thought: ‘If I can cover my costs just by letting other people use it, it’s a no-brainer!’”
Four years later, Kate’s car has made nearly $8,000 and paid for itself. This means Kate can keep the convenience of owning a car, and save money at the same time.
“I have a very supercharged life. Where I can, I prefer to take public transport. But some days I have meetings, events and commitments lined up back to back all over the city from 6:30am to 9:30pm. There’s no way I could do that on public transport. For sheer convenience, it’s good to have the car as an option. It’s an eco-friendly car and a revenue generator - so it just makes sense to keep it.”
In fact, her car’s income has saved Kate a few times when an unexpected expense has come up. “I forget it’s there as an income stream, and it’s funny because whenever I'm in a situation where I'm stuck for cash, the Car Next Door payment miraculously comes through. It always seems to appear right at the time I need it.”
Working in sustainability, Kate’s very aware of the huge waste tied up in underused cars. “It doesn’t make sense to put more cars on the road. We need to think about how we can activate the ones we’ve already got.”
“My car is the only one on Car Next Door in the suburb I’m in now (St Lucia, by the river in Brisbane). If everyone else had their car on the platform I’d be less inclined to have my own. I think it would be great for more people to do it, because a car is a really valuable resource and Car Next Door makes it really easy to share it.”
In four years, Kate says, “I’ve only had one case when someone didn’t fill the car up. I let Car Next Door know and they followed up with the borrower. Other than that, I haven’t had any issues. I think there’s a great vibe in the community: the Borrowers respect other people’s property and generally leave it in really good condition.”
At the end of the day, for Kate a car is just a car and by having it on Car Next Door, it’s doing more of what it was made for.
“I’m not one of those people that thinks my car is my baby. It’s a functional object. Everything I own I have because it serves a purpose. I use my car to get around; that’s what it’s there for. If I’m not using it to get around someone else should be. That’s why it exists.”