Community commutes

Have you ever dreamed of taking your neighbour’s car out for a spin? Well Will Davies, founder of Car Next Door, wants to make that a reality. But don’t worry, it’s for a good cause…

The Car Next Door company, which recently had a stall at the Glebe Street Fair, all began when Will Davies was walking to pick up a GoGet share car, saw the hundreds of cars parked along the way and thought ‘why can’t I just borrow my neighbour’s car?’

After a little research, he discovered that “peer-to-peer” (or neighbour-to-neighbour) car rental services have been operating successfully in Europe and America since 2010. Will quickly decided to bring this new kind of car sharing to Australia and Car Next Door was born.

This system of car sharing is really quite simple; if you are looking to rent a car you apply for membership and then look up the availability of cars near you and if you are the owner of a car that you don’t drive frequently, you can apply as an owner. As an owner, you decide the schedule of availability for your vehicle as well as the rates for borrowers wishing to rent your car. Part of the program is that each vehicle is fitted with safety devices to defend against theft and dangerous driving and all owners’ cars are placed under the Car Next Door’s fleet insurance policy.

So far it all seems to be working out rather nicely, with one car owner saying, “Since I don’t use my car much, it was a no brainer to be making money off a vehicle that sat around doing nothing most of the day.”

So what makes this type of car sharing so special? Other than the ease of borrowing a car from someone who lives in your neighbourhood rather than the closest car rental agency, there are two stand-out reasons why peer-to-peer car sharing is a positive move. First off, it helps build a sense of community within neighbourhoods. By collectively owning a vehicle with other people, people are forced to learn how to share.

Secondly, this is a great initiative for sustainable living. The carbon emissions created when manufacturing a car typically match or even exceed the exhaust pipe emissions during the car’s entire lifetime. So even though car sharing doesn’t reduce petrol use, by reducing the demand for cars on the road it means we are using our resources more efficiently.

Car Next Door first began operating in Bondi on Christmas Eve 2012 and soon expanded across much of the eastern suburbs. Now they are moving west, expanding to Newtown, Glebe, Camperdown and Forest Lodge. With plans to head to other inner city suburbs soon, this car sharing revolution is set to take over Sydney, sharing their philosophy of community and sustainability.

To find out more about Car Next Door, visit their website at

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