Before explaining how car sharing works it is good to know what is car sharing. A good and simple definition is this: car sharing is the sharing between citizens of the use of a car not owned by them.
Keywords are 'sharing' and 'use'. A related concept is 'non-ownership'. Car sharing it is therefore a car (car) that is 'divided-together' (sharing) when it is useful to do it (use) without owning it.
But then whose car is the car sharing? Of another subject, different from the user (otherwise it would be car pooling), generally of a company that in the car sharing experiences we see in many Italian cities makes a profit by making a certain number available for payment in pay-per-mode. use.
The difference between the car sharing and the rental is within the estimated and agreed duration of use of the asset (the car): short in car sharing and medium-long term rental. However, there are forms of 'elongated' car sharing that resemble short rentals (this is the case of GuidaMi by ATM in Milan, which) and for those who live in the city are a valid alternative to buying a car.
Another feature of the car sharing is the perimeter of use of the car, generally confined to the urban area. However, forms of car sharing extended to larger areas are spreading, especially the airports that are outside the city, and in some cases it is possible to use the car even abroad.
But let's get to how car sharing works. One thing common to all the services offered is that it is necessary to register with your data and driving license in one of the offices of the various companies or on their sites (in some cases a registration fee is requested in others not) because those who make the 'car obviously needs to know who will drive it and make sure if he is qualified to do so.
A difference, for example between the GuidaMi public service and the various private services such as Car2go, Enjoy and others, is that in the first case the car must be picked up and returned to the same parking lot, in the others the car can be picked up and left in a anywhere in the city. The door is opened by placing a card near the window. The latter is collected at one of the authorized points after registration.
There are only the Apps that can be downloaded from the sites that guide the user in booking and tracking the nearest car. And if you have to refuel you can go to one of the indicated distributors: for the trouble you are rewarded with a few minutes of free driving. In these cases, you pay for the actual driving minutes (via credit card) and not for how much you keep the car available because, once parked, the car can be picked up by others.
In one form or another, the car sharing it can be convenient for getting around the city freely (convenient parking and no C areas) or for those who use public transport and want a car for a weekend trip without having to buy it. It is an interesting aspect of the sharing economy and the leveling of prices is making it more and more interesting.
On the websites of the various car sharing companies, the characteristics of the individual services (registration fee, prices, methods ...) are illustrated point by point and you can choose the car sharing best suited to your needs. Even electric car sharing if you want.