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Need wheels? Just borrow some

By

June 4, 2004

With roads, carparks and the atmosphere becoming choked by the ever increasing demand for motor-vehicles, a US idea that promotes sharing rather than buying is providing a viable alternative that may help shape our future transport habits.

Flexcar is a mobility club that gives its members the key to new cars, trucks, and minivans within a metropolitan region. Users pay an hourly rate and Flexcar pays for the car insurance, parking, maintenance and fuel. The network of available vehicles include special purpose vehicles such as vans and higher end sedans but the standard car is a new model, four-door sedan like a Honda Civic.

Members are given a key or code that works in every Flexcar vehicle and reservations can be made anywhere from a year to a minute in advance.

Flexcar currently has operational fleets in California, Maryland, Washington DC and several other US states. Similar operations such as ZipCar (www.zipcar.com) are also using the share model and the first public bike commuting centres (already common in Europe) to also have opened in the US through www.bikestation.org.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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