Dégage is a civil organisation that offers private car and bike sharing in Flanders and Brussels. All members get the entire car and bike fleet at their disposal at a fixed mileage charge. In exchange, Dégage compensates the owners for the actual costs incurred. As a provider Dégage arranges the sharing of these cars and relieves the owner of the burden. As a civil organisation, the organisation is strongly committed to local operations. The organisation is growing rapidly with +3500 members, +320 and +50 shared bikes (figures January 2021).
With this sharing system, we strive for more conscious car use and sustainable mobility. Each shared car makes other cars redundant. Those who do not have a car at home are less likely to use one and are more likely to opt for a bicycle or public transport for short journeys. Dégage therefore literally means 'out of the way'.
Next to our offer of shared cars, we wanted to set up a private, neighbourhood-oriented and cost-sharing bicycle sharing system, with attention for special bikes (folding bike, cargo bike, bike trailer, tandem ....). Obviously, bicycle sharing will also lead to less car travel.
After the launch, the trial period and the evaluation, we can say with a positive feeling that the project was a success and that we will certainly continue it.
There was a lot of interest in the bicycle offer: in six months time, 50 quality bicycles were borrowed some 300 times in Ghent. The electric carrier bike and longtail bikes are the most popular, especially for transporting children for leisure trips or for shopping.
The offer of shared bicycles on top of the shared cars created interest among both existing members (who indicated that they would have lent a car without the bicycle offer) and new members, who were attracted by the special bicycles.
To improvethe ease of use for all participants, we also developed a Dégage App in 2019.
We are also focusing on dissemination. During the trial period, we were happy to go and explain our project in other citiesand towns. We even developed a special brochure aimed at municipalities and cities to support them in the start-up of private bicycle and car sharing.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
For Dégage, bicycle sharing is a relevant addition to car sharing and forms a real added value. The bicycle offer causes a shift among the own members: 37% of the bicycle trips would have been made by car without the bicycle offer. In addition, the offer of special bicycles attracts new members.
We need to put even more effort into communication and awareness so that the use of bicycles increases and the costs are certainly covered. With bicycle sharing, it is important to have an offer at district level and to communicate very locally. One possibility is to support bicycle owners in making the offer known in their neighbourhood.
The evaluation showed that members would like to see a better, more detailed description of the bikes on offer, for example by means of photos, the number of seats in the case of tandems, the riding range of e-bikes, etc.
Because the use of bicycles by their owners is more ad hoc than with cars, we need to make the reservation process even simpler. The quicker the response time, the easier it is to hand over the keys, a search function in the app by type of vehicle ... The easier the reservationsystem is, the more owners and users will join the sharing system.
10district evenings to find pioneers
440existing members made cycling account
50quality bikes for hire
300borrowings at 6 months
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The bike-sharing system will be continued after this project. The offer is fully integrated in the operation of Dégage, such as in the information sessions and the communication via neighbourhood antennas.
It is important to continue to intensify the use of shared bicycles. This is necessary to realise the cost-sharing principle of Dégage. With 4 to 8 loans per bike per month, we can cover the costs for owners.
In addition, enthusiastic members of Dégage will roll out the system in other Flemish cities in 2020. Important in this are bicycle owners who are willing to share the costs of ownership as well as a local offer, on a neighbourhood level, of special bicycles for members.