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October 16, 2010

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Home » Metro » Public Services

City carpool plan with Bremen

SHANGHAI and Bremen are joining forces after World Expo to provide drivers with an online platform to exchange information about carpooling, local authorities said yesterday.

People who are willing to share cars can file information, such as their usual routes and schedule, on the site. Then Dazhong Car Rental Co, which is building the platform, will arrange drivers and vehicles for those people who they can match up to share cars. Foreign language services will also be available.

The practice is based on the carpooling scheme Bremen, Germany, has promoted and exhibited at the Expo, and the two cities are currently discussing details of the project.

But carpooling in Shanghai will mostly not involve private vehicles; instead, travelers will be sharing rented vehicles with drivers.

Wang Peihong, an official with Dazhong, said yesterday that the company has more than 1,000 cars available across Yangtze River Delta cities, including Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou.

"The concept of carpooling in Bremen is very interesting, especially for a metropolis like Shanghai. It will save energy and cut carbon emissions," Wang said.

Four years ago, a traffic-guide hotline opened a carpool service in the city. However, traffic authorities were concerned that the service might be used by car owners to act as taxis, which is strictly forbidden.

There are also legal issues about using private cars in carpooling. Passengers have no insurance and, should an accident occur, it may be difficult to establish whether responsibility lies with the owner or passenger. As a result, compensation may prove problematic.

Dazhong offered similar services targeting white-collar workers three years ago. But the scheme was poorly publicized and failed to capture the public's imagination.

Wang hopes that by cooperating and learning from Bremen, carpooling can be made more widely available in the city. The usual cost is 30 yuan (US$4.52) to 40 yuan a day for one person if they share a vehicle with four or five others.

In Bremen, 160 carpooling vehicles can replace 1,000 private cars.


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