13 July 2008

Copenhagen Car Sharing

It can't be a secret any longer that I prefer to ride my bicycle here in Copenhagen. Like 70% of the population in my neighbourhood, I don't own a car simply because I don't need one. Nevertheless, there are times when a car is handy.
Hertz Delebilen
Car sharing programmes are booming here and I finally signed up for one of the two main programmes available to Copenhageners - Hertz Car Share [Delebilen in Danish] - in order to get to a summer house in Sweden for a week. Glad I did. It is great.

The best thing about it is the Ease of Use. I booked a car online from 10:00 one day. The cars are equipped with a sender/reciever and the info that Mikael was coming was sent to the car. I made my way to the parking spot - there are many around the city in convenient locations - and found the Volvo V70 station wagon. A beautiful car. I have the choice of renting many different cars; compact, medium-sized, station wagons, a mini-van or even a transport van. I can rent them for one hour or one week or anything in between.

Upon arriving at the car, I pulled out my membership card and waved it at the metal panel on the dashboard, through the windscreen. Instantly, the doors unlock.

I hopped into the car and opened the glove compartment and pulled out a terminal welcoming me to the car. The keys are locked into the terminal. I punched in my PIN code and that releases the keys. Off I went. Easy as easy can be.

After a week in Sweden, I returned the car to the same parking spot. When I pulled out the terminal again, it knew that the car was 'home' and read, "Do you wish to end your rental period? Y/N."

I punched yes and stuck the keys back in. I was given a quick rundown of how long I had rented the car and the total kilometres travelled.

I got out and waved my membership card at the metal plate and the doors locked.

A great system, especially because of the technology involved. Once the car is reserved, other members can't open the door, because the car is saving itself for Mikael, so you'll never get there to find the car gone.

We pay a monthly subscription of 150 kroner [30 dollars] [normal price is 300 kroner [60 dollars], but we get a discount for various, boring reasons]. You pay for the period of rental and you pay for each kilometre travelled. The price includes petrol, which is great seeing as how the prices are currently higher than normal. A petrol credit card for Shell stations is included in the glove compartment for your convenience.

If we need a car for a couple of hours or a weekend, it can really pay off to use this programme. For a one hour rental of a small car I'll pay 22 kroner [4 dollars] plus the kilometre price of 2.85 kroner [ca. 57 cents]. Even renting the car for a week was far, far cheaper than renting a car in the normal fashion. Not to mention not having to go to a car rental office, filling out forms and all that.

We're hooked. We live on our bikes, but we have a car when we need one. Perfect.

- Hertz Delebil
- Københavns Delebil