Car sharing has been on the rise in Belgium for a while, but new figures indicate a real boom. In 2022, for instance, the number of active car-sharing users in Belgium rose by 40% to 121 394, a record number. So reports non-profit organization Autodelen.net in its latest report.
More than half of car-sharers are from Flanders, but car sharing is also strongly established in Brussels with just over 50 000 users, or over 41% of the total. In Wallonia, the number of car-sharers is a lot lower, with 3% of the Belgian total.
80% more users of free-floating system
Especially the free-floating car-sharing system did well last year, with 78% more users. Some car-sharing systems require you to leave your car in a fixed location after use, while free-floating works with zones where the car can be parked and left in another place.
More users obviously also mean more shared cars. Today, the counter stands at 5 316 shared cars, or an increase of 671 new shared cars compared to 2021. This is mainly due to free-floating car-sharing systems, the arrival of German player Miles, and the expansion of Poppy’s fleet, the car-sharing daughter of D’Ieteren Automotive.
More than 17 000 cars off the street
Quite some car-sharing people ditch their cars because they need fewer or no private cars at all, the report also highlights. Together with KU Leuven, Autodelen.net calculated that each shared car takes three to ten private cars off the street, accounting for a total of 17 079 private vehicles in Flanders. It reduces the need for public parking spaces and makes more room for greenery.
“Shared cars today make up only 0,07% of registered vehicles in Flanders,” says Jeffrey Matthijs of Autodelen.net. “Still, they do save almost 2% of public parking spaces.”
Also striking: people using car-sharing more often opt for sustainable travel. Since they started, 35% drive less often by car. The biggest winner is the bicycle: 31% of car-sharers take the bike more often. Bus, tram, and metro also gain, but slightly less: 16% use them more often. Most car-sharers (75%) use public transport as much as before.
Not only urban trend
The days a shared car was mainly considered an urban trend also seem to be behind us. Outside big cities, the shared car is on the rise as an alternative. The arguments are always the same: it is cheaper, more practical because no hassle with parking, and more sustainable.
Cambio, for example, will start offering the service in eight municipalities and towns in the Flemish Kempen region this year. There will be an additional 28 Cambio cars, all electric models.
“A real Kempen mentality shift may still be too strong, but it is really starting to come to life,” says Nancy Peeters of IOK, an inter-municipal organization that has developed a framework contract to greatly expand car-sharing.
“We are realistic and know that residents in rural Kempen often cannot live without their own car,” dixit Peeters, as quoted in the newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen. “That is why our plan focuses on families with a second or third car that is often unused. We want to convince those families to switch to car sharing.”
Ready to join the conversation?
You must be an active subscriber to leave a comment.