Friday, June 26, 2015 Car Sharing Review

So it is started when I and my wife were boring on last Saturday morning. Initially we didn't have any plan yet. Suddenly my wife was suggesting why don't we try Smove and just drive around Singapore? I rarely writing review about startup services. But since Smove is quite innovative, I think write a short review will helpful for whom who would like to try the service but want to know some experience from another customer that have tried it.

Smove is identifying them-self as Car Sharing platform instead of just car rental. I am trying to understand that the main focus of car sharing is on short term usage with car can be picked up in several pickup point collection and returned to any other drop off collection. So the car is shared by some users. While the focus of conventional car rental period is renting car at least a day or could be monthly or even yearly.

I signed up with Smove last week. The main trigger because I think their marketing team successfully hook me with the ads that they put on Facebook. Another trigger point is since Smove based at same building with my current office so that I encounter their brand quite often. Like when seeing some of their staff wearing the company t shirt and several of their electric car that is parked in parking lot.

The process of signed up is straight forward. After giving some personal data like name and address, we also have send our driving license scan to their email address and submitting our Ezlink card number. User is expected to have minimum 2 years driving experience to use their service. Maybe they need this for insurance purpose. Since I only converted my Singapore driving license last year, the Smove staff replied me an email asking another proof. I then sent my Indonesian driving license that has been issued for some years and immediately after that my account is activated by them.

Earlier, I mentioned that we need to submit our Ezlink card number. The reason is, Smove try to make car pickup up and drop off as convenience as possible with key-less entry system. So that we don't need to collect the car key when need to use the car. This can be happen by utilizing Ezlink card to unlock and lock the car. This is a feature that I would say really innovative.

Moving forward after signing up, on last Saturday we decide to try the Smove service. After my account is activated we can start to book the car. The step is just logon to their website and go to new booking menu. First we have to select booking start time and booking end time. Later they will have the list of pickup points. As the time I write this post, there are about 26 pickup locations that have between 1 to 3 cars per location or zero car if full book. After selecting a pickup location then we can select where we will drop off the car at the end. Then we will got confirmation email and our booking process is done.

I booked a car in pickup location near to Farrer Road MRT. 15 minutes before our booking time, Smove will send us the car plate number and the exact parking slot location of the car. From that information we can find the car. There are nobody waiting us in the car park. We just need to tap our Ezlink card to the reader in front window near driver seat and the car is unlocked. Then we get in to the car, put the ez link card inside cash card machine for paying parking and ERP charge. Car can be started by pressing to power button and all is set.

Toyota Prius C
I haven't talk about the car yet. Smove using Toyota Prius C for all of their fleets. I would say Prius is quite premium car. I believe the reason why Smove is using this car is because since Prius is hybrid car then the gasoline consumption rate is freakingly low. Fuel rate will be important because the service fee is including fuel. Smove pay the fuel for us. Since It was the first time I drive Prius, I would say it was a pleasant experience. The car transmission is automatic like most car in Singapore and I also don't think there are manual transmission type of Prius. The car is five seater so that if you need to bring more people, then Smove is not an option for now. The car have built in GPS so that we don't need to bring one.

Ez-Link Reader
We rent the car from 1pm to 11pm that day. The biggest agenda was we went to Ikea in Tampines since for sometime my wife keep asking to buy a dining table set. Since we have car that day it will be easier to bring the item without need to hire a van. The dining table dimension is 125 times 75 cm. We also bought 4 set of chairs for the table. All of them perfectly fit inside the car, of course after folding second row seat. After that we planned to visit east coast park but fail to do so, since it was really crowded and we don't get a spot to park the car. Then we decide just to visit a friend place. As night came we drive home to drop off our Ikea's stuff. Then we drive back the car to our drop off location. After park the car and lock it the next step to do is to send SMS to Smove citing our return location. That SMS will be use as acknowledgment that we have returned the car and Smove should stop charging us for the car usage.

Drop off point
Overall I would say that it was really a pleasant experience. The only caveat is as of now, all of their pickup location is in southern area. At the time Smove have more coverage then the convenience of car sharing concept only can kick in. The main point of car sharing is when user can pickup and drop off the car conveniently. The most important aspect of pickup location is the one near to home. If picking up the car will need one hour traveling and another one hour after returning the car then it will too much inconvenient.

The second thing, it will great if the rental cost could be reduced little bit. I am not saying the cost is expensive. It is generally about the same rate like most rental company in Singapore. Moreover Smove taking care car refueling. Even Smove offer the possibility to use the car in really short start from 15 minutes only which is not possible in conservative rental service. But lower price should attract more customer. With the current price I don't think will use Smove quite often because actually the need of car in Singapore is not so that paramount since it has excellent public transport system. In conclusion, I really enjoyed the experience and will recommend for anybody to try the service. I will appreciate if you can use this link if decide to sign up.