Brussels: ‘car-sharing fails due to cheap parking’
According to Brussels Mobility Minister, Elke Van den Brandt (Groen), the free-floating car-sharing sector is failing to work because parking is too cheap in the capital. This simplistic remark pushes Brussels deputy, Clémentine Barzin (MR), to call out the government to offer positive solutions and stop with punitive measures.
While it was seen as the almighty savior of Brussels’ mobility, the free-floating car-sharing solution doesn’t seem to take off in Brussels. Worse, Zipcar pulled the plug last year, and DriveNow followed it more recently. As of today, only Poppy, the major free-floating car-sharing service provider is active in Brussels.
‘Too cheap parking’
According to Clémentine Barzin, MR Brussels deputy, this monopoly presents an opportunity for the government to help the free-floating sector, and prove it still has potential. “While the government develops its vision of mobility with shared and electric cars, it’s time to put up concrete means to achieve that ambition. Supporting the private sector is essential,” she declares.
“Shared mobility is promising, but still very complex. In Brussels, there are around 41 vehicles per 100 citizens, and this is certainly linked to the tax advantage of company cars. But, on-street parking is also too inexpensive compared to other European capitals,” reacts Elke Van den Brandt.
While Poppy benefited from an increasing market share, ambitions had to be lowered. Due to a lack of infrastructure, Poppy won’t run new electric cars in Brussels, contrary to Antwerp. “While operators ask for infrastructure, like charging points and CNG stations, to meet the challenges of the ecological transition, Brussels still doesn’t provide any specific answer to that development,” berates the MR deputy.
“The concession for the development and operation of a network of charging points plans for the installation of normal or semi-fast charging terminals. The basis 100-strong network will be installed before the summer,” adds the Mobility Minister.
‘Where are the positive solutions?’
“There is a real issue in the development of the infrastructure. Even worse, when asked about CNG, the Minister points out that manufacturers are abandoning the fuel. The only answer that the Minister gives is, once again, a sentiment of guilt to private car owners because they have too many cars, and are benefiting from cheap parking spots,” explains Clémentine Barzin.
“And all that would make the use of shared cars insufficiently competitive. When will this government implement positive solutions, incentives to promote the transition, and when will it stop with its punitive reflexes,” wonders the MR deputy.