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Belgian local governments are sharing their fleet with citizens

January 19th, 2015

The Belgian umbrella organisation for car sharing, Autopia, created an innovative and successful concept from a simple idea: It all started with a little survey in 2013 concerning the car fleet of local governments. The result was that these fleets are far underused. On average, three out of four governmental cars are driven less than 10,000 km/year. Four out of five of these vehicles are not being used outside of office hours. These results led to the concept of sharing governmental fleets with outside of office hours and on the weekend with residents from surrounding neighbourhoods.

The beauty off the system is that it is suitable for smaller cities where traditional car sharing providers are reluctant to operate, due to economic limitations. With this system, there is no need to invest in expensive new cars. Additional benefits included that the shared cars are mostly more environmentally-friendly vehicles (40% electrical and 15% CNG vehicles) and the introduction of sharing of governmental fleets serves as general promotion of the car sharing philosophy.

In larger cities (where a car sharing provider is already based) that desire to implement such a sharing scheme, Autopia leaves it first to the car sharing provider. Why? By putting city cars into the providers’ fleet on the weekend, the car sharing provider is able to offer more cars at peak moments which is good for offering better services and a variety of vehicles.

At the moment, 10 Belgian small-town governments are sharing their own car fleet with citizens with the support of Autopia. Four larger cities are working together with the car sharing provider cambio to share their governmental fleet. In the following video, the scheme for sharing a fleet of a small village (Schoten, 8.000 habitants) is explained by the counsellor and a user:

So, whether your city is big or small, there are no more excuses for not providing car sharing in one form or another. Start today by giving the good example to your citizens and share that fleet!

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