Truck Share?

I don’t believe U-Haul is “sharing” their truck, any more than an airline is “sharing” their seat with me.


Oliver 's picture
Oliver on June 9, 2022 - 16:59 Permalink

It’s a communist utopia we’re living in now. You didn’t get the memo?

Jarek's picture
Jarek on June 12, 2022 - 15:11 Permalink

I just made a short-term car rental today and I started thinking about this. I was using a service with "carshare" in its name and I've been thinking of these services as "carshares" for the past decade or so. That's the power of branding, I suppose.

I think initially, a couple of decades ago, these started out as literal car shares: a couple of households or friends would get together and get one car and split their car use, rather than the "normal" way of every household owning a separate car and the cars sitting parked for 22 hours a day.

Then it grew a little and started operating as organizations explicitly focused on "carsharing", mostly as non-profits. Sometimes it was actual co-operatives, sometimes there was a joining deposit / "share" that would fund the capital requirements. Sometimes it was companies, but there wasn't much money in it at the beginning, so it ended up being mostly small-scale and community-oriented companies.

Things got a little murkier with Zipcar, which from the beginning was a for-profit, country-wide company.

More recently, as venture capital and then plain capital got into """"sharing economy"""", the word lost meaning. It's pretty clearly not "sharing" when U-Haul rents you a truck by the hour rather than by the day, even if you don't pick it up and drop it off with a salesperson. But it's interesting/difficult to draw lines:

Modo in Vancouver remains an actual co-operative, requiring a capital share before you can get the cars. Zipcar also operates in Vancouver. So is it "sharing" when you rent a Modo car by the hour, but not when you rent the Zipcar down the street by the hour? Once you've paid in your share, there isn't much of a difference in practice.

Autoshare in Toronto was a local company started in 1998 and sold to Enterprise Rent-A-Car in 2014. Was it "sharing" for 16 years until the day of the sale, and no longer "sharing" one day after the sale, even though the cars and the operating staff were all the same?

Community Carshare in Waterloo Region was a non-profit co-op that ran out of money and was acquired by Communauto. Communauto started out with support from a cycling advocate and feels fairly community- and environment-oriented, but it's a for-profit company. Was Community Carshare "sharing"? Is its successor, Communauto Ontario, "sharing"?

(As a point of interest, these services are to this day called "car clubs" in the UK, I presume with the same etymology. But at least to my Canadian ears that doesn't have the feel-good sense of "sharing".)