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With increased mindfulness of carbon emissions, an increase in congestion in big cities, and an increase in access to and dependency on technology for getting transport, the generally more mobile population these days is turning to car share and ride share options to meet their needs. Unsure of the difference between the two?

Carshare is the communal use of cars, where one vehicle is shared by multiple people who use it for individual purposes. Ride sharing refers to numerous people sharing one route or riding in the same vehicle at the same time, or overlapping on a part of a shared route.  

Still, need more clarity, or want to know the advantages and disadvantages of each, and when it’s better to use one service over the other? We’ve got your rides covered.

What Is Car sharing, And What Is Ride sharing? 

Both terms are popular these days and might sound similar but have entirely different meanings and use. There are apps for both, usually different apps, and they are accessible in most big cities around the world. But when to use which?

Car sharing

Car sharing is like car rental, where you rent a car for a specified period of time and then you ‘own’ it during that time. This service can be used for going on weekend trips, moving furniture around a city, or just going to do a large grocery shop that you don’t want to use public transport for. 

Car sharing usually works like this: There are cars owned by the app that are geolocated on a map through a car sharing app. Once you’ve downloaded the app and been verified as a driver, you can get going. 

Based on their availability and their proximity to you, you pick a car and can book it, either in advance or just on the spot within a short period of time from when you need to use it. Through a keyless system on the app, you are then able to unlock and get into the car. 

After using the car, you return it to a specified area, one of the parking places around a city that has been designated for vehicles on your particular app. You may or may not have to top up the fuel in the car at the end of your trip, depending on the level and the conditions of the app. 

Ride sharing

Ride sharing is a great way to jump into the car with strangers who are traveling the same route as you. If you are flexible on your time of travel and happy to give or take a few hours or minutes and not in a rush, then this option makes a lot of sense both in and between cities.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can enter your desired destination. The app then uses your location to determine whether there are any other travelers near to you going the same route at your preferred time and date. A driver will pick you up and drop you off, and there will likely be other riders in the car with you. 

A peer-to-peer ride sharing service, these apps can be used as ride-hailing or carpooling services. Similar to a taxi, it allows you to pay for only a portion of the fees, though, as fuel and other costs are shared by all riders. 

What Are The Advantages Of Car sharing Vs. Ride sharing?

The Advantages Of Car sharing

  • It gives vehicle access to people who can’t or don’t own cars
  • Allows sharing of in-demand resources, so private users save money while still enjoying the benefit that access to cars gives
  • Easy and safe access to vehicles without human contact
  • Reduces demands on parking 
  • Fewer restrictions than a rental car
  • Convenience
  • Drive when you want to
  • Increased use of electric vehicles

The Advantages Of Ride sharing

  • Saves fuel
  • More efficient and sustainable than car sharing
  • Reduces congestion on the roads
  • Costs are divided between all riders
  • Helps to solve parking and pollution problems in cities
  • It is quick, affordable, and safe
  • Benefits those with reduced mobility

What Are The Disadvantages Of Car sharing Vs. Ride sharing?

The Disadvantages Of Car sharing

  • Increases CO2 emissions
  • For-profit and investment costs to be covered, so usually more expensive
  • Mileage limits
  • Membership requirements/barriers to entry
  • The potential need for additional insurance 
  • Vehicle not guaranteed available when you want it

The Disadvantages Of Ride sharing

  • Possibility of riding with strange people, or people you don’t get along with 
  • No guarantee of ride share exactly matching your timing
  • Decreased use of public transportation
  • In the case of ride-hailing, drivers can be paid less than minimum wage, making paying for vehicle repairs or maintenance tricky – this could lead to riding in cars that don’t meet your own desired safety standards.

What Are The Best Car sharing And Ride sharing Apps?

Very much a matter of opinion and personal preference about what makes one app better than another, these are some of the most popular ride and car sharing apps around today. There are, of course, some that may be local to your area, which is likely to be more efficient if they dominate the local market. If you’re living in a big city, though, give the following a try!

Best Car sharing Apps

  • Car2Go
  • ZipCar
  • GIG Car Share
  • Hyre Car
  • Getaround
  • Turo
  • Enterprise Car Share

Best Ride sharing Apps

  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • Go-Jek
  • Careem
  • Via
  • Ola
  • Blablacar
  • Bridg
  • Go-kid
  • Hitch

Not all of these might be operational in your area, and some may be more well-known and trusted by certain groups of people, but these are considered some of the most popular and highly rated by users. These apps work best with economies of scale and become more convenient and often therefore popular, the larger their networks. 


Car sharing and ride sharing are increasingly popular for both convenience and the prices that they offer – cheaper than car rentals or taxis. Though more expensive than public transport, they often provide door-to-door or more conveniently located access points, and also help to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. If you haven’t yet, try each of them and form your own opinion about which you prefer and why.