Owning a private vehicle in Malta, while very convenient, has many attached recurring costs. Apart from the cost of purchase, fuel and maintenance, which are the most obvious, one must also consider the annual service, VRT, road licence, insurance, vehicle deprecation (the car loses its value over time), parking (including garage rent), loan interests (on the car if purchased by loan and on the garage if the garage is bought). A new average family car can cost its owner approximately €6,562 in annual costs when taking into consideration all the above mentioned expenses.
Vehicle sharing spreads these costs among several people instead of having one person shoulder the burden.
Vehicle sharing reduces cars off the road, because people who frequently use vehicle sharing tend to sell one of the cars owned by the household (keeping in mind that the trend in Malta is that each person over 18 owns his/her own car) and eventually start using alternate modes of transportation. Alternative transport modes are made more convenient when one pairs them with vehicle sharing as the shared vehicle can be left at the closest station and the journey is continued by bus/ferry or even on foot.
Fewer people sitting behind the wheel of a car has its benefits; it reduces traffic congestion and decreases air pollution. But there are many personal benefits too; apart from saving money, these may include overall better health due to an increase in biking and walking. Even if you just walk to get to a vehicle-share station, it’s better for your health than constantly driving everywhere. Transport Sharing also saves time! With exclusive parking at each station, you will not need to travel around in search of an available parking spot, but simply leave the vehicle at the closest station. It also offers people access to various types of vehicles – car/bicycle/pedelec/scooter – depending on the need for that particular journey.
Shared transport works best when combined with public transport. Say for instance, you are in Valletta and want to go to Gzira for a meeting. First, you can go to work using a bus – which is still the most convenient way to arrive in Valletta. But to use the bus to go to Gzira will then take too much time. An option would be to use the ferry to get to Sliema – that takes 10 minutes. Book a bike from the station next to the ferry landing site. Cycle to Gzira, and leave the bike at the station. If it is raining, you can use a shared car to head back – and use the Bus Priority lane since all shared vehicles are electric. Combined together, the services give very flexible options which can be adapted according to the needs of your journey.