There are three big reasons why Melbourne based car sharing business, Flexicar excites us.
The first is obvious. Flexicar does car sharing, a new and sustainable (each car shared takes about seven off the road), car hire business model popular overseas.
The next reason is that Flexicar is dedicated to the principle of keeping to a Triple Bottom Line (balancing business success, jobs and a sustainable lifestyle) approach to doing business.
The third reason being the company has received funding for the Victorian Government’s Sustainability Fund and subsidized access to parking spots from three inner Melbourne councils.
In Flexicar’s new take on car hire, members have ‘ownership’ over the company’s fleet of small cars parked in council designated car spots scattered over the metro area. Members make an online booking for use of the car and then access the cars by a smart-card instead of keys.
Because the hire rates are lower than those of hire car companies, insurance is included in the membership fees and the car locations are many, Flexicar reckon membership turns out to be cheaper than buying your own car.
We’re not sure if this holds true for individuals but for a small business wanting to avoid costs of maintaining a fleet of company cars, while doing less to harm the environment, Flexicar’s car sharing model might be worth looking into.
In their their annual Triple Bottom Line report published on their website, Flexicar states their share holders have invested in the company with the three aims to:
* Grow the value of the business
* Operate in a manner which is socially beneficial
* Operate in a manner which is environmentally beneficial
To be ‘socially beneficial’ Flexicar contribute to a bunch of community organisations including some local radio stations, Environment Victoria, Bicycle Victoria (yes, a car company into bikes. And they encourage their workers to bike to work), St Kilda Farmers Market and the Australian Conversations Foundation via sponsorships, discounted car rental and in-kind donations.
To help the environment Flexible’s fleet comprises mostly of tiny and fuel efficient, Smart Cars.
Also a recent study in the US found every carshare car takes seven cars off the road.
The rationale being that these cars would have been purchased by customers had the service not been available in their city.
And that’s the reason councils have supported Flexible by subsidising handy parking spots all over inner city.
What we’d give for Flexible’s spot outside our local shopping strip!