The UK example: Customers sign up and pay a one-off lifetime membership fee of GBP 25. Booking takes place online or by phone, and a confirmation with the car's details (exact location, colour, license plate number) is sent to the customer both by email and sms. An sms is also sent to the car, to tell it who will pick it up.
To unlock a car, customers hold a smart card up to the windshield. Door opens, and they'll find the ignition key in the glove compartment. Monthly bills give a detailed breakdown of all journeys, and show how much was saved by not owning a car. The entire process is extremely customer-friendly, and nice touches include an iPod connector in every car, as well as a hands-free car phone that users can forward their own mobile phone to.
- ...fragmented car ownership is a highly promising business concept: increasing numbers of consumers are more interested in experience than ownership, no longer viewing cars as the ultimate status-symbol, but as a utility. Serving them and being green doesn't mean forsaking profits: Streetcar went into the black 18 months after launching. And every car shared results in 6 private cars being taken off the road. May sharing proliferate!