THE Airbnb of cars has arrived in the Hunter.
The car-sharing network, Car Next Door, launches in Newcastle this week.
It will give car owners the opportunity to offset the cost of ownership by renting their vehicle out by the day or the hour to local borrowers.
The organisation already has a fleet of more than 400 cars and 15,000 borrowers in Sydney and Melbourne.
Now it’s our turn.
Islington couple Rachel King and Jamie Oorschot are the first Novocastrians to offer their 2007 Honda Jazz on the network’s platform.
They had never quite gotten around to selling the second car, and were already letting friends and family borrow it.
Ms King and Mr Oorschot liked the idea of being able to extend that borrowing network so the car was put to use more often, but could also make some money to help with the running costs.
“We bike around Newcastle quite a lot, so we liked the general concept,” Ms King told The Herald.
“At some point you need a car. I think it will be pretty helpful for people.
“It just feels like lending a car to a friend, and if anything happens then we’ll address it through the systems in place.”
Will Davies, chief executive and co-founder of the business, said the platform connected cars that would otherwise be sitting idle with people who needed occasional access to a vehicle.
“There are huge amounts of people out there who don’t want to own a car because they are really expensive, but they still want to use one every now and then,” he said.
“And others have cars sitting there doing nothing which could be earning some money for them.”
Owners list their price and availability on Car Next Door’s online platform.
“If the owners know they need it every Wednesday for footy training, they can lock that out permanently,” Mr Davies said.
The average price of a shared car was $6 an hour, or $30 for a day.
Utes and vans were particularly popular.
Mr Davies said established car owners in Sydney and Melbourne were earning about $2500 a year from sharing their vehicles. Top earners collected $6000 annually, after fuel and wear and tear deductions.
A GPS tracking device and a lock box, which holds the key, is fitted to each car.
After a borrower had been screened with an ID check, they could then search for a nearby car via the Car Next Door website.
“They might find one a few hundred metres down the road. Book it for a day, a week, or a few hours, walk to it, get the key using a one-time code, and then drive away,” Mr Davies said.
“We calculate how far they drive, charge the borrower and pay the owner.”