RE: Eco-Survey: car trusts
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 1996 22:04:52 -0500
>RE: Eco-Survey:  car trusts
From: Joshua Samos

Perhaps the reason people have trouble accepting co-owning cars has to do 
with how the idea is presented.  Instead of approaching it from the *eco* 
point of view, meaning *ecological,* try looking at if from *eco* meaning 
*economical.*  The savings ought to be substantial for a family who 
co-owns a car, instead of owning it outright.  

Most cars--at least here in Chicago, where I live--sit idle 90% or more 
of the time.  A family could therefore *sell* up to 90% of their second 
car and still have the use of it.  A more reasonable arrangement might be 
to sell 50 to 75%, time-sharing the car on the basis of some schedule 
which works out with other people.  For example:  family A needs the car 
on Monday to go shopping; B needs it in the mornings and mid afternoons 
to drop off and pick up children from school; C wants a car on friday and 
saturday nights for drag racing, and hitting the bars ;-) etc.  

Imagine the insurance payments, maintenance, and loan payments being 
halved or more, and the car sharing makes sense.  The main hurdles are 
with the private ownership thing.  People need to learn to trust others 
with their personal vehicle.  Everyone fears what others will do with 
their stuff: how driven, where parked, etc.  Only education and trust 
will overcome these prejudices.  We've all seen our neighbors drive and 
often have questions about their sanity, as they probably do about ours.  
Car -sharing requires an understanding of mutual responsibility and 
respect.  However, the responsibility for a co-owned vehicle is spread 
out, and one's vulnerability to loss should decrease as the pool of 
responsibility grows.  

Imagine that 20 people want to share 5 cars.  The 5 families who 
originally own the cars have bought in already by *donating* their cars; 
the other 15 families assume responsibility for the cars upkeep and 
payments until their equity in the vehicles reaches par with the original 
owners.   For the *donating* family, this might mean owning use of their 
car for free for several years, while the others contribute to the pool.  
Of course, if the cars aren't already owned by members of the pool, then 
everyone would share in the purchase and upkeep of the vehicles from the 
start, but each person's buy-in level would be minimal.  In the above 
example, everyone would have to pay only 25% of the price of owning a 
car, and have ample time to use it.  

Scheduling is the biggest hurdle.  If everyone wants a car to drive to 
work, car sharing is impossible.  Switching by days or half-days might be 
the simplest way.  Each group can work this out as their needs dictate.  
Also, don't forget the value of car-pooling for common tasks like 

Thanks for reading,
Josh Samos

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