Demand for Car-Sharing up during Lunar New Year
By Channel News Asia | 23 JANUARY 2012

More Singaporeans are turning to car-sharing during this Lunar New Year

SINGAPORE: Rental car companies are not the only ones enjoying good business during the Lunar New Year.
As many cars in the rental market have been fully booked, some Singaporeans are turning to car-sharing during the festive season.
The roaring demand has translated into one car-sharing company enjoying up to a 30 per cent increase in business compared to the same period last year while others in the industry have seen 15 to 20 per cent increase in business.
Car Club, Singapore's largest car-sharing company, with 150 cars and 54 stations, said demand has revved up this festive season.
Car Club's managing director Lai Meng said: "Traditionally, Chinese New Year has always been a peak demand period but we did notice a slightly higher demand request for this Chinese New Year. I think it comes across a lot not just for Chinese members of ours but generally widely spread out across the different races so we believe that could be partly due to the higher cost of cars. We are seeing increase in demand between 30 and 40 per cent."
Another operator, WhizzCar, the second biggest such company in Singapore with 90 cars, saw a 20 per cent jump in business.
While Kah Share, the smallest operator in the market, with a fleet of 50 cars, experienced earlier Lunar New Year bookings in 2012.
Choong Tat Soon, who is the head of Kah Share, said: "For this year, cars bookings came in as early as November last year. By December, we were almost like 50 per cent booked and as compared to last year when the bookings came in much later. By December or one month before New Year (last year), there were still a lot of cars available for members to make booking, but this year by January, we were 80, 90 per cent booked."
Unlike car rental, car-sharing requires membership and subscription fees besides the rental rates.
Membership fees range from S$80 to S$120 while the monthly charges are about S$10 on average, and hourly rates as low as S$7 for the lower end cars. The type of cars for rental include one litre compacts to even MPVs.
Users can book by the hour and collect the cars at many convenient locations close to their homes.
Most customers Channel NewsAsia spoke to agreed that car-sharing was a good option to car rental due to factors like convenience and cost.
And with many thinking twice about buying a new car because of the hefty prices, it's no surprise future demand for car-sharing could be driven up beyond these festive periods.
Whizzcar's general manager Ho Kok Kee said: "I think this is a very viable option with the governments direction to reduce car ownership. As we expand our fleet, it becomes more and more convenient to the public to use the service, then it will be a very viable option for them to consider because the cost is really very considerably lower than car ownership."
All three operators Channel NewsAsia spoke to say that there are private individuals in Singapore who offer their cars for hire, but the numbers are not substantial because of the various restrictions and the fact that many in Singapore still consider their cars a prized possession.