Short-term rentals allow car owners to earn some extra cash when they are not using the car, which can be used to offset ownership costs.

Published 2019-10-23 16:55:43

The concept of car-sharing is not new in Singapore, with players like Tribecar, Smove and BlueSG, among others.

However, a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform is completely new and novel here.

Called ‘Drive lah’, this new platform allows private car owners to rent out their vehicles in Singapore.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has approved them to run a year-long trial capped at 500 cars, starting from 1 October 2019. It will review the trial after six months.

LTA’s private car rental scheme currently allows rentals on weekends and public holidays only, but it allowed ‘Drive lah’ to operate daily.

Make Some Money Out Of Your Idle Car

drive lah singapore
Screenshot from ‘Drive lah’ website

‘Drive lah’ founder Dirk-Jan ter Horst said that such short-term rentals allow car owners to earn some extra cash when they are not using the car, which can be used to offset ownership costs.

For a gauge on how much you could potentially earn from renting out your car, ‘Drive Lah’ has a ‘calculator’ feature on its website to find out how much you could make a month based on your car brand, model and price.

‘Drive lah’ currently offers daily rentals, but Mr ter Horst does not rule out plans to offer daily hourly rentals in the future, much like other car-sharing operators.

To rent a car, users can browse Drive lah’s website, which currently has almost 400 cars listed.

Users can filter their car search based on the distance (within 100m of their location), car models, or price. After booking a car, they can directly contact the owner for a pick-up.

The rental fees for each car differ, as respective car owners are free to decide on the daily rental rates.

Besides deciding on the price, car owners can also decide on the availability as well as impose rules such as pets allowed and driving to Malaysia.

Users also have to take note to pay a 20 per cent fee to the car owners for insurance and operational costs.

drive lah singapore
Screenshot from ‘Drive lah’ website

Every booking made via ‘Drive lah’ is “comprehensively insured” on a per trip basis by Tokio Marine Insurance Group. This will not have any impact on the car owner’s own insurance and no-claim discount.

For bookings, ‘Drive lah’ will also hold a S$500 refundable security deposit on renters’ credit cards.

Since car-sharing is a community built on trust, ‘Drive Lah’ makes it a point to only allow verified members to book a car.

To register, members need to provide personal information such as their name, contact details, NRIC and driving license.

LTA also warned that car owners participating in the trial must ensure that their vehicles are properly insured for rental purposes or face a fine of up to S$1,000 or three months jail, or both.

Those found guilty may also be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 12 months.

Rent For “30-40% Cheaper” Than Traditional Rental Firms

drive lah singapore
Screenshot from ‘Drive lah’ website

While there are many existing car-sharing players in Singapore, Mr ter Horst trusts that ‘Drive lah’ will be able to stand out from the crowd.

His platform allows users to easily book nearby cars at an affordable price point that is “30-40% cheaper” than traditional car rental firms.

A ‘Drive Lah’ user told TODAY that he booked a Hyundai Elantra for S$50 a day, which is cheaper than the $120 daily rental of a similar car from TribeCar.

Screenshot from ‘Drive lah’ website

Moreover, since the cars belong to private car owners, they are typically in very good condition.

A review system for both renters and owners also encourages good maintenance and use of the vehicles.

In terms of future plans, ‘Drive lah’ is planning to launch a mobile app to allow bookings on-the-go by early next year.

Featured Image Credit: Direct Asia Insurance / Screenshot from ‘Drive lah’ website

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