Car-sharing users increasingly rent cars to eat, sleep

Car-sharing users increasingly rent cars to eat, sleep

It seems that car-sharing users in Japan are renting cars to do a range other things other than driving them, such as taking a nap, practice singing, or even do facial stretches to reduce the size of their face. Following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, rental cars were also used to recharge cellphones.

The Asahi Shimbun reports that Times24, a leading car-sharing service provider with over 1.2 million registered users, discovered that customers utilise its rental cars to nap or use as a workspace. Another person used the car to store bags and other personal belongings when nearby coin lockers were full.

Orix Auto, a car-sharing operator with 230,000 registered users, is also facing difficulties to figure out what some customers were actually doing with its rental cars. When asked to examine mileage records, Orix said several percent of its rented vehicles “travelled no distance.”

A company public relations official said: “We have no clear idea how they actually used our vehicles. The only thing we can say is that data show a number of people who rent cars without driving them.” Other car-sharing operators similarly reported that some rented cars logged unusually low mileage after they were returned.

Car-sharing users increasingly rent cars to eat, sleep

Survey results by other firms reveal the number of customers who rent cars for reasons besides driving is steadily rising. A 31-year-old employee who lives near Tokyo said: “I rented a car to eat a boxed meal that I bought at a convenience store because I couldn’t find anywhere else to have lunch.”

“Usually the only place I can take a nap while visiting my clients is a cybercafe in front of the station, but renting a car to sleep in is just a few hundred yen (below RM50), almost the same as staying in the cybercafe.”

In 2018, another service provider NTT Docomo found that one of eight users (sample size of 400 individuals) rented a car for purposes other than transportation. A large number of respondents said they slept or rested in vehicles, followed by those who said they used cars to converse with friends, family, and business clients on the phone.

NTT Docomo said “cars can be used for private space. People used our vehicles in more ways than we expected.” Currently, the bulk of car-sharing users do use the cars for transportation purposes, but the number of those who rent it for other purposes is rising.

Car-sharing users increasingly rent cars to eat, sleep

While this may sound good for business, operators actually lose money because customers pay more if they rack up more mileage. Also, those who spend time sitting in an idling car could adversely affect the environment.

“Motorists should shut off their engines when they’re not driving, and we do not recommend our customers rent vehicles for purposes other than travelling. We believe it’s best for our cars to be used for driving,” an Orix PR official said.

In terms of cost, customers are only required to pay 400 yen (RM15) for a rental duration of 30 minutes. It’s very easily accessible as well – users can reserve the vehicles at any given time, even for immediate use. Once booked, they only need to pick up the car at one of the firm’s 12,000 parking places across Japan.

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Matthew H Tong

An ardent believer that fun cars need not be fast and fast cars may not always be fun. Matt advocates the purity and simplicity of manually swapping cogs while coping in silence of its impending doom. Matt's not hot. Never hot.



  • Johnny Yes Papa on Jul 23, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    RM15 for 30 minutes. Way cheaper then motel..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
  • MakanMakan on Jul 23, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    No wonder, each of the cars cames with free parking. Furthermore there are 12,000 FREE parking spots provided by the company all over Japan. It cost a lot more than 400yen to street park a car in any city in japan, let alone Tokyo. I bet most of the provided parking spaces are prime areas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  • lilytan on Jul 23, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Do not take nap in an idling car with aircond ON.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
    • Aura89 on Jul 24, 2019 at 11:33 pm

      IF the car is EV, why not? Put it to charge and full blast aircon like Antarctica.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Haidi on Jul 23, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    It is another world

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Ben Yap on Jul 24, 2019 at 3:19 am

    Japan is a weird country. they can come up with all sort of funny things to cater to their weird people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
    • Safety First on Jul 24, 2019 at 9:35 am

      Another weird attitude is they don’t consider other Asian lives as worthy as theirs. You can see how they don’t mind to push us lower specced unsafe cars which they wouldn’t use.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
    • They are not weird, they just have very strict social rules that you are not supposed to do many things in public such as no eating in the public, so they would have to spend money just for a space to eat etc.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Ex VGM staff on Jul 24, 2019 at 10:09 am

    I think socar/ gocar is not far off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  • Alibaba Chiam on Jul 24, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Good news

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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