NSU Economics Department graduates, Anna Simonenko and Sophia Makarevich conducted research on the phenomenon of commercial and non-commercial car sharing based on Delimobil and BlaBlaCar ride sharing services and their users in the Siberian Federal District. The focus of their work was to identify and describe the principles of car sharing as a part of the sharing economy. In addition, they looked at the characteristics and competencies of agents in the sharing economy using the example of car sharing.
The sharing economy is a market model based on the collective use of goods and services. This model is currently acquiring new forms and expanding its operational space. This process greatly simplifies and builds relations between people, increases the number of social contacts, and improves the environment by reducing the consumption of a certain group of goods. Car sharing (short-term car rental) is one of the most popular spheres in the joint economy. The NSU graduates explored various vehicle sharing models, including rides with fellow travelers or ride sharing (non-commercial car sharing).
Commercial car sharing only operates in two Siberian cities, Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk. The researchers interviewed 36 drivers and passengers from these cities. Respondents were selected according to criteria through thematic groups in social networks and using the snowball method. They found that the main principles for engaging in car sharing are comfort, time saving, rationality, and safety with comfort as the primary principle for the sharing economy.
Simonenko discussed the practical application of her research,
The results of this study can be useful for representatives of car sharing and ride sharing companies. It helps them to better understand the users of their services so they can expand by offering more and improved services. In addition, the results of the work will allow these companies to develop a more effective marketing strategy. Our study can also be useful for students and more experienced researchers who want to study car sharing in Russia and conduct a comparative study of car sharing agents in different regions of the country.
The research demonstrated that non-commercial services have a large audience and are in demand in Siberia. The reasons for this are long distances between towns with minimal public transportation, limited alternatives, an opaque insurance system, and inconsistent quality for the existing transportation services without serious competitors so there is no expectation of rapid development. According to the researchers, the quality of commercial car sharing services is low and they proposed measures that could improve the level of service.
The researchers emphasized that “After conducting this study, we can say with confidence that car sharing in Siberia is not only about saving money and time, but also about communication, the environment, and the discovery of new horizons. Therefore, car sharing does not just provide an economic function, it is a pronounced social phenomenon”.