Taipei--Zipcar Inc., the largest car sharing service network in the world, announced on Saturday that it will enter the Taipei market in the second quarter of this year to provide an alternative car sharing experience in the capital city of Taiwan.
The new venture will be the first time Zipcar has provided services in the Asia Pacific region.
Boston-headquartered Zipcar operates under a self-help car rental business model in which members have access to cars in its fleet that are available and parked at certain pick-up locations after making a reservation by logging onto its system via the Internet.
Zipcar, a subsidiary of car rental services provider Avis Budget Group, has been available in more than 500 towns and college campuses in many countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Where it differs slightly to other car rental operators, is that Zipcar, caters to customers who would rather rent a car by the hour, instead of by the day, though it offers both services.
Founded in 2000, Zipcar provides customers with the freedom and flexibility to rent a car by hour or day, without the hassle and cost of buying a car.
Zipcar said that it has decided to use Taipei as a starting point to enter the Asia Pacific market because the city has a well educated population and many local residents are familiar with the sharing economy.
In fact, Hotai Leasing Co. (????), a subsidiary of Taiwan-based car vendor Hotai Motor Corp. (????), provides a hourly rental service in Taiwan, whereby customers can use their Easycards to rent a car for up to 10 hours a day with a hourly fee of NT$168 (US$5.56).
Zipcar did not provided details about prospective rental fees in Taipei.
While Zipcar did not announce any details about its pick-up locations in Taipei, local media identified several possible locations for local car users to access its fleet, including Songshan Airport, Taipei Arena, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Huashan Creative Park, Shida Night Market and Raohe Night Market.
According to market information advisory firm Navigant Research, the number of car sharing users is expected to hit 23.4 million by 2024. Authorities in the United States and Europe believe that a car sharing model could help solve the problem of traffic jams and reduce the impact of air pollution.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel