Limassol
  • Ayia-Napa
  • Larnaca
  • Limassol
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  • Paphos
  • Polis
Carsharing in Cyprus
Carsharing in Cyprus
4586
Translation: Inna Guseva
22.04.2021

Carsharing is a pretty new service appeared in the world during a digital era. And it’s completely new for Cyprus in particular. First and the only one for now startup of this kind started only a year ago on the island. We want to find out how it goes and how perspective is this service comparing to traditional car renting.

But first the definition from Wikipedia: “Carsharing — is a model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. It differs from traditional car rental in that the owners of the cars are often private individuals themselves, and the carsharing facilitator is generally distinct from the car owner. Carsharing is part of a larger trend of shared mobility.

Carsharing enables an occasional use of a vehicle or access to different brands of vehicles. The network of cars on the network becomes available to the users through a variety of means, ranging from the simplicity of using an app to unlock the car in real time, to meeting the owner of the car in order to exchange keys.”

Sharing economy is a modern trend when people give up purchasing properties to not be responsible for the spending but continue to have access to all benefits of scientific progress by shared consumption.

Specialists noticed that modern cars very often just stay without anything to do. An average person uses a car to go to work and back, to a supermarket and to a shopping mall or nature during weekends. The rest of the time a car is just collecting dust on a parking lot. Unprecedented waste of resources.

Many experts predict that the era of private cars goes to its end. And soon it will be replaced by shared mobility. While earlier everything you could afford was a beat-up Mazda, now it could be even a brand-new Mercedes when it’s a potluck with your friends.

But those days are still future projects without exact date of release. Today there is only one first swallow of the upcoming spring on the island — www.ridenow.tech service.

We did a test-drive and now will compare it to its competitors. Well, there are no competitors in the same branch but lets see if it can beat ordinary car rental and taxi services.

How It Works?

Carsharing, as every progressive service in this world, starts with an app. You can download it following the link above.

Next step is registration. It’s user-friendly and easy to use, without glitches and bugs common for Cyprus startups.

The form is standard. First name, last name, email address, telephone number, promo code (if you have one). In addition to that you have to attach a picture of your driver license (it could by any, not only that issued in Cyprus) as well as a photo of your passport or ID card and also your selfie with this last one.

I got some doubts regarding the documents. They asked to send a picture of a passport or ID card. I chose ID card. Next step was “send a selfie with your passport”. That’s why I “froze” for a while — on the one hand it should be the same type of the document, as I see it, from the other hand they asked only about “passport” on this step. I decided to check it out and sent ID card picture instead of passport. And it worked.

My data was verified within a day and added to the system. My kudos. Well, I had some experience with registration in one popular Russian carsharing system before. I waited for my data to be verified two weeks. And here the task is complete in one day.

After registration you should add your bank details. I should admit, it’s kind of scary to tell your CSV number to an unknown service. Ok, it will be more convenient to use it later.

It’s worth it to make time for reading information and terms of service on the website. By the way, the webpage looks simple, nice and intuitively clear. It’s made in Landing page format. There are three language options: English, Greek and Russian. Useful stuff only.

The only thing that I didn’t understand from scratch were strange signs for “green parkings”, “free parkings” etc. You should use them for searching the map for matches. I had trouble with it first. However my intellectual skills are far from genius and most likely that’s the reason. But contemporary IT etiquette supposes that everything should be so simple even your grandmother could use it.

But it’s just a remark. Those signs are not a big deal.

Now we handled all the technical formalities and we may “hop in the car” and “chase our destiny”. Let’s do it this way: I will mention step by step some rules and nuances you can read about on the webpage and in the app while describing my personal experience of the test-drive and share my comments on it.

So, let’s start!

1. Before You Rent A Car!

а) Check the map in the app before you start. The most important thing is “domestic area”. This is a zone where you can get and leave a car. What is important — it doesn’t match with Limassol city boarders. In the north it ends with Spyrou Kyprianou Avenue (which means it isn’t reaching even A1 route), in the west it’s Omonias Street (so a big part of western Limassol is not included into domestic area). However eastern and southern parts of the city are covered pretty well.

What happens if I irresponsibly decide to drive out of domestic area, leave a car there and go on my way? In this case the renting will not end and counter will continue to calculate the price until the car returns back to the domestic area. Taking into account that they know my CSV there’s no chance you can skip paying for that.

b) Where you may drive? Zone that is available for driving is also marked on the app’s map. Basically it’s almost the whole territory of Republic of Cyprus excluding the occupied territories and Akamas peninsula. The last one fell from favour because there are no paved roads on it and it’s forbidden to use unpaved roads.

I asked the founders of the service what would happen if I screw the rules and go to Akamas following my heart. I was warned that the movement of every car is recorded and observed. The trip outside the allowed area will be punished by a fine. But we are talking about actual driving on unpaved roads. It’s okay to make a stop at a beach or drive a distance around 200 m on an unpaved road (as long as it safe for the car) if there’s no alternative.

Carsharing in Cyprus

2. Renting

The manual on the website says: “Pick a car and press “Book”. You will have 20 free minutes to get to it. Check the car and take pictures of any damage you noticed. You will have 5 free minutes for that. After that you may drive!”

According to the map available in the app cars are located in such a way you can manage to pick it up in 20 minutes. However some areas will literally require 20 minutes of walking.

Sometimes, in the evenings or on the weekend, it could be that there’s no car close by. I took a look at the map now while I’m writing this article (it’s evening) and found only 19 cars that are free. There was definitely more options during the daytime.

Creators of the project are planning to enlarge the number of cars and hopefully the coverage area will be more convenient.

I live close to an old Debenhams (which is located here). This territory is included to the domestic area. So there were 3 cars parked nearby. 2 blue and 1 green. Blue cars are standard ones, green is with a discount. How come? Sometimes it’s because the car stays at the same place for a long period of time or it’s not a full tank. For test purposes I chose a blue car.

What is more it was a little bit closer to my home. It took me 13 minutes to walk from my house to the car. Firstly I was a little bit confused, where is my “Betsy” or “Daisy” because there were a lot of cars parked nearby. There’s a button “flash the lights” in the app. It’s cool. Unfortunately it’s not working. I checked it when I found my car — no effect. Or maybe it just didn’t like me, who knows.

Okay, we got our vehicle. I had gray Nissan Note made in 2014 with a ride.tech sticker on its side in front of me.

By the way, for now all the cars of the service are exactly the same. Nissan Note is an unpretentious simple car from a low budget segment of the market. But it’s famous for comfort and safety among his competitors. A perfect “workhorse” of economy class.

I had 5 minutes to look for possible defects. Talking about it, based on my experience with renting services I highly recommend you to check inside too. It could be that a person has to pay a fine because he or she swam in the sea and got behind the wheel immediately after that still wearing wet swimming clothes, so there is salt “print” of their bottom part on the seat. Long story short, the more pictures you will take, the less questions you will get afterwards.

I took photos of everything I could in a couple of minutes. Examined the car in process. It looked pretty good. I found no flaws except few scratches and chips on the bumper.

Next step — a sacred moment of opening the door of the car. It went casually. I pressed the button in the app and “Open, Sesame” thing happened.

It was neat inside. The seats were spotless, no sugar contained drinks spilled by the previous users detected. On the backseat there was a bottom part of a car seat for babies. For “grown up boys and girls”.A pack of wet wipes in the glove box. In addition to that there were three charging cords sticking out of an armrest. For IPhones, 2 USB and 3 USB.

There is a trip computer in the car. There were a lot of different options but as far as I understood the majority of them are inactive. I failed to turn on GPS for instance. But the radio turned on by itself. Tuned in on the Russian podcast.

The car has an automatic gearbox. So, don’t worry those of you who have seen a manual one “whole through a peephole”.

To the left on the dashboard there is another sticker with a phone number of the support service and a warning that if you run out of money on your card while driving, the car could stop right in the middle of driving. So be careful with that.

3. On The Road

a) Prices

This is a significant detail. Expensive carsharing service is meaningless because people would prefer a taxi or daily rental cars.

You will not find any fixed prices on the website. Pricing is complicated and takes into account a lot of details and nuances. Basic pay scale could be divided into two formats: “per-minute charge” and “tariff plans”. First option competes with taxi services, second one — with day rental car services.

“Per-minute charge”: 1 Euro for opening doors of a car, 5 Cents per minute for renting a car and 22 Cents per kilometer (including petrol and car service). Drivers younger than 25 years old pay additional 0,01 Euro per minute and 0,05 Euro per kilometer.

Let’s do the math and find out that driving a distance of 100 kilometers at a speed of 100 kmph will cost 26 Euros. Average fuel consumption is around 20 liters per 100 km.

But these examples are barely theoretical. And I have a real one. Because I chose per-minute charge option for my test-drive. Test budget was 10 Euros.

I took a car on a working day in the afternoon. So it was not a rush hour (traffic jams in the mornings and evenings became horrible recently). I started from old Debenhams and went to the sea. The road to this place at the seafront promenade cost me 2,5 Euros. To the parking at Dasoudi — 3,2 Euros. To get to the final stop of my route — Poseidonia Hotel — 4,7 Euros. I didn’t drive further to remain within 10 Euros budget.

Trip summary: 22 kilometers and 65 minutes on the road (I stopped at a couple of stores).

Final price: 9,1 Euros.

Detailed price: 4,8 Euros for mileage, 3 Euros for the time of the trip, 0,2 Euros for waiting (well, I didn’t get for what kind of waiting actually. It would be more fun if they wrote something like for “expectations”) and 1 Euro for unblocking the car. If you sum these expenses you will get 9 Euros, not 9,1. Where the hell are my 10 Cents? Who knows. Let’s consider them to be a tip. Hope that calculating inaccuracy doesn’t exceed this amount.

So, was it cheap or expensive? We will try to give you an answer to this question at the end of this article where we will compare carsharing with taxi and car rental services.

Existing types of “Tariff plans”:

  • 6 hours: 12 Euros + 0,22 Euros/km for petrol and service
  • 24 hours: 19 Euros + 0,19 Euros/km for petrol and service
  • 2 days: 39 Euros + 0,16 Euros/km for petrol and service
  • 3 days: 49 Euros + 0,16 Euros/km for petrol and service

Also every tariff has a footnote that drivers under 25 pay additional insurance fee: 5 Euros + 0,05 Euros/km.

How profitable are these plans? To compare with a per-minute charge, 6 hours plan will be a better deal that saves you 5 Euros.

I haven’t tested this one, but there is an example on their website www.ridenow.tech that an entire day in Troodos will cost you around 37 Euros.

By the way, the app has all the statistics. You can check about how much money you already spend even while driving. I said “about” because the sum updates once per minute.

b) Using a car

First question I got when I sat behind the wheel was how should I leave the car, how to lock the doors and what else have I to do. I worried for nothing. Everything turned out to be quite simple. While you are inside a car or driving the following buttons are available in the app:

  • “Lock and put on hold” — if you want to leave a car but do not end the renting.
  • After pressing the button you will get an instruction:
  • Select “P” position on the gearbox,
  • Roll up the windows, turn off the lights,
  • Take your belongings and litter with you,
  • Lock the doors and the car trunk,
  • If the car was damaged, take a picture (there is “photo” button nearby).

Next step you will choose between two buttons “Lock the car” and “Cancel”.

“Finish renting” — here you will get the same instructions as in the case with “Standby mode”.

“Fuelling” — I didn’t get how to fuel the car and what are the nuances. Because if the tank is more over a quarter full it’s prohibited to fuel the car. But on the website is written following: if the indicator of the tank turns on, refuel the car at any filling station. Send the receipt to info@ridenow.tech and we will refund your money with RideNow credits.

“Report a problem”. Well, everything is clear about it I assume.

The functionality of the app had not indicated any questions or issues by me. I stopped several times during my route to go to a store and everything worked okay.

c) Insurance

A third-party insurance premium (TPL) is already included in the cost. Your responsibility for a possible damage to a RideNow car couldn’t exceed 499 Euros (franchise). It’s cost is already included in the rental amount.

d) Finish renting

As I already mentioned before you should park a car inside the domestic area. You may leave a car at any place where the parking is allowed (if something goes wrong with it, all the fines will be up to you). To make it more comfortable, there are blue squares and rectangles on the map marking the most convenient places for free parking. I counted 9 in total.

In addition to them there are also green squares and rectangles — around 12. If you park a car on one of them — you will get 1 Euro as a bonus.

Carsharing in Cyprus

Comparing Counterparts

Carsharing vs Car Rental Services

Basically I wouldn’t recommend using small car rental services in Cyprus. The price is either too high or too low (and you will be cheated in this case). At a time I hadn’t my own car I usually used www.cars-scanner.com aggregator website. Let’s take the information on it as an example.

Cost efficiency

There are a lot of details and nuances so we can compare them by a pile of characteristics. To not get lost in them, I suggest comparing “the most cost efficient” offers.

I hasten to say that the comparison was made during wintertime. What means it’s not a touristic season on the island. When it’s the season, the prices for a classical car rent are always higher. I opened www.cars-scanner.com (information dated back to 26 November 2020). I was searching for offers in Limassol. Minimum amount for renting a car for a day was: 39,22 Euros. It’s quite a lot for twenty-four hours. What is more you will get something more low-budget than a Nissan Note for this price and a manual gearbox by the way. But don’t jump to conclusions.

You will pay 39,25 Euros for two days. I repeat. 39,35 Euros for two days, not for one! Why it’s like that? It’s more profitable for the companies when you rent a car for a longer period of time. That means that the price of a car per day will be 19,6 Euros.

The rent for three days will be even lower. 34,48 Euros for three days. What is 11,5 Euros per day.

Let’s see what we got:

Amount of days 1 day 2 day 3 day
Carsharing 19 Euros 39 Euros 49 Euros
Car rental services 39,22 Euros 39,25 Euros 34,48 Euros

It doesn’t take Albert Einstein to figure out that if you need a car for 2 or 3 days you will save more money renting it at the ordinary rental service. And I remind you that it says here only the price of the carsharing tariff plan but there is also an equivalent of fuel consumption (petrol + service) which is 2-3 times higher by carsharing.

Regarding one day.

Taking into account that ordinary car rental services are represented mostly by cars of economy class (runabouts), their average fuel consumption is 6-7 liters per 100 km in the mixed mode.

Remember the example on www.ridenow.tech website that full day in Troodos will cost you 37 Euros.

I asked the creators of the project what amount of kilometers is behind that phrase. And it’s 95. One liter of 95 petrol costs 1,19 Euros. Let’s do the simple math again. Let’s take the fuel consumption of an ordinary runabout rented at common car service — 7 liters per 100 km. What means it will be 6,7 liters to Troodos and back in this case. We have to pay around 8 Euros for the petrol. So if you rent a car for one day you will pay 39,22 Euros for a car and 8 Euros for petrol. 47,22 Euros in total vs 37 Euros if you use carsharing service.

Conclusion: during winter season it’s more beneficial using carsharing service instead of ordinary car rental if you need a car for one day and less profitable if you need a car for 2 or 3 days.

It might be noted one more time that we are talking only about “the most cost efficient” offer.

If you looking for a car similar to Nissan Note on www.cars-scanner.com, the price per one day will start at 47,85 Euros, 53,53 Euros for 2 days and 47,59 for 3 days. In this case the deal is different. Carsharing is better for one day. For 2 days the price is more or less equal (taking into account petrol and service). And usual rental service is still better for 3 days.

Comfort

Comfort offered by carsharing is better. First of all you don’t need to go to an office, talk with a manager and fill in a pile of papers. It’s Cyprus by the way, so your manager easily can be late for half an hour for the appointment you made in advance. I speak from multiple experience here.

Second, usually you should go to the “touristic area” part of the city to rent a car because the majority of car rental offices are located there, what is logical. Carsharing on the other hand offers you cars within walking distance.

Third carsharing offers you a little bit more comfort. Baby seat, charging cords, wet wipes. Well, all these things are not very significant but still nice.

Fourth at the end of your rental period you need to drive to the car rental office again. A car rented by carsharing could be left right in front of your house if there is a free parking lot.

General conclusion

It will be my personal subjective one. Conclusion of a philistine. Checking price/comfort ratio for 1-2 days I would choose carsharing and usual rental service if I need a car for three days or more because the price starts to differ significantly in this case.

Carsharing vs Taxi

Cost efficiency

For my comparison I chose a modern startup Bolt instead of some fishy private services with “the best prices in the city”. Bolt will offer one of the lowest prices in town for real.

Okay. What Bolt can offer to us? 6,5 Euros from old Debenhams to the seafront promenade against 2,5 Euros by carsharing. 9,5 Euros to Dasoudi parking vs 3,2 Euros by carsharing. And 16,5 Euros to Poseidonia against 4,7 Euros.

Well, speaking about cost efficiency, you can’t argue with the results of carsharing. What is not surprising at all. And the longer you plan your trip the more money you will save with carsharing service.

Comfort

I don’t think I should explain something here actually: a car with a driver is more comfortable than a car without one. But if you are also an introvert as I am, it’s more convenient when you don’t need to talk to people at all while ordering a service and you don’t need to shout “It is not the Pyrgos village I was looking for. What have you done!” (villages with the same names are located at the opposite ends of the country).

General conclusion

Sure thing that it’s not profitable or convenient to use carsharing for small single trips not far than 5 km. The road to your car alone will take 10+ minutes. With the similar success you can walk to a bus stop. I mean single trips sound like a bad idea in general when we are talking about carsharing service. But if you want to go to several places at once without paying high taxi prices while your own car is at the repair service than it makes sense to choose carsharing. It could be a backup wild card.

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I wanted to end the article at this point but I got curious how much actually costs 2014 Nissan Note? Market price of this car is 7700 Euros. Let’s say you take a car everyday to go to Troodos and back using “per day” tariff. After 208 days of this kind of life you will get the amount of 7700 Euros. Well, it’s a rough math. But it’s worth thinking about.

What personal conclusions can you make based on the test-drive of www.ridenow.tech service? It’s not a super duper cost saving option. However it stretches the price range of car services in Cyprus. And could be useful, comfortable and even irreplaceable at some point. Besides we support country development and contemporary trends. So, give this new service a try! With our special promo code — TRAVEL you will get a greetings bonus of 3 Euros after signing in.