Community Car-sharing with Hiya Car
Since 2016, we have been working with our partners and members to identify trends and opportunities that will make our transport system cleaner, safer, fairer and low carbon. The concept of “shared mobility” has evolved during this time and our latest member, Hiyacar, is offering a new take on an old idea. The established model of car hire, where people would rent cars from a company, has evolved to a new model which makes the most of the assets already in communities. Essentially, this is neighbour to neighbour car rental and Hiyacar provides the platform and safeguards that allow people to share cars with confidence.
Hiyacar’s goal is to give communities around the UK freedom at their fingertips: financial freedom for owners and the freedom to access a car when needed for hirers. Hiyacar has over 70,000 members across the UK and it is scaling to deliver the benefits of car sharing to communities and organisations around the country. This type of car sharing contributes to the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act by providing equality of opportunity to people who may not own a car but need to travel to, for example, job interviews or education/health services and cannot easily do so by public transport or active travel options.
Sharing also enables households to feel that they no longer need to own a second car, or even a car at all. Hiya car believe that car sharing also provides a lower carbon car solution as in time, less cars will be produced, total miles driven is normally reduced and, as mostly small, more efficient cars are used, less carbon is produced per mile driven. Employers can build on this by encouraging people to commute via public transport or active travel; then at work, employees who need to drive can use a vehicle owned by the organisation or alternatively can hire a colleague’s car (perhaps one who has to drive to work, perhaps providing “car pooling” lifts to colleagues when they do), which in turn can reduce the need for organisations to maintain a fleet of “pool” cars.
Hiyacar is also strongly promoting electric vehicle sharing and offers commission free hires to anybody who shares their EV. Together with Hiyacar’s technology and the insurance provided for each hire even rural communities can benefit from safe and simple car sharing and access to EVs today, without any need for technology other than a mobile phone. The model may prove to be useful for communities that have their own renewable energy supply and can use local energy to power communal EVs. We also wonder if economically marginalised communities could benefit from this approach as it could provide additional income to households with no set up costs or commitments and provide a cheaper alternative to taxis.
The background to Hiyacar
Co-founders Graeme Risby and Rob Larmour first met aged 16 behind the deli counter in their local supermarket. They bumped into each other again by chance years later and the seed of Hiyacar was created.
Graeme worked long hours in the City and was very aware that his car cost him money just to sit on his drive being not so much an asset, but more of a liability. Paired with e-commerce expert Rob, the duo realised that a car-sharing app – think ‘Airbnb for cars’ – might offer a smarter, more sustainable way for people in the UK to hire rather than booking from a pool of corporate owned vehicles sitting on a forecourt or street.
The idea also responds to an increasing societal challenge; the loss of community. It’s a common held belief that there’s no sense of community spirit in the age of digital communication and people don’t know their neighbours anymore. Graeme and Rob strongly believe the sharing economy can help us regain our sense of community as we share our ‘stuff’ and help each other live smarter.
How can you share your car?
The barriers to car hire were both overcome when Hiyacar was founded – the transferring of keys used to be a hassle and people worried about how they or their car would be insured if there was an accident.
Hiyacar solved the key issue by implementing QuickStart, a keyless technology solution from their partners Contiental that allows owners to give access to drivers (who could be their family, neighbour or colleagues as well as a vetted member of the public) who request their car via a “digital key” on the driver’s Hiyacar mobile app. The insurance is enabled by a unique, comprehensive insurance policy developed with AXA that completely supersedes personal policies.
The platform continues to evolve and change. For example, ‘Mates Rates’ allows people to share cars with their family and friends at a discounted rate, without jeopardising the car owner’s own insurance.
Hiyacar offers a new model for community mobility and a mechanism to turn cars from liabilities to assets. Core to this is Hiyacar’s game changing technology which simplifies and speeds up car sharing while removing old risks and barriers. Hiyacar will accelerate the pace at which peer to peer car sharing becomes a standard model.
Any community or organisation who would like to explore how car sharing can support their goals can just contact firstname.lastname@example.org while any driver or owner can just go to www.hiyacar.co.uk and sign up sign up with code “cynnal” for £20 off a first hiya or £30 extra on a first share.