We recently produced a whitepaper in collaboration with movmi Shared Transportation Services on a highly important topic if you’re a carshare provider: the relocation or rebalancing of your fleet. Today, we are going to summarize a portion of the whitepaper for you. Download the full paper here.
Solving the carsharing operational issue
So, what is it about the rebalancing of a carshare fleet that makes it so challenging? When an operation is free-floating, traffic patterns of the members will depict where the vehicles are located in the home area at any given time. And the evergreen issue of supply and demand means that free-floating carshare operations need to be weary of the gaps caused by their member’s usage behaviour which, if not balanced, can lead to a decline in revenue and customer satisfaction.
The operational issue of relocation also happens to be one of the most expensive in the industry. In the whitepaper, we outline several options for solving this problem, including the following.
Member-enabled: Dynamic Drop-off and Pick-up
Two of the solutions to the rebalancing issue could be solved by the members themselves. By offering better pricing to get them to drop off or pick up the vehicle at a different location than their trip requires, in-field fleet management teams could be at least partially relieved of their relocation duties. In these scenarios, the member would be attracted by a discounted rate and the carshare operator would benefit from having the members rebalance their fleet through the incentive, off-setting the potential loss of revenue that results from an imbalanced fleet.
Machine learning, enabled through platforms like our very own Ecomobix, can predict behaviour patterns to ensure that dynamic pricing solves an imbalanced fleet before it becomes an issue or loss of revenue.
Alternative options: Delivery fees and shuttle groups
The biggest problem with the two aforementioned solutions gaining popularity and solving the car share relocation issue is that is does, after all, inconvenience the member in their journey.
Members could instead opt for a delivery to them by paying an extra fee during the times of day when there are no available vehicles in their vicinity. This tends to be more favourable amongst users with higher income levels.
Alternatively, members could be “employed” by the car share operation to be involved in a shuttle group to relocate vehicles. Members would receive driving credits or a discount as reimbursement.
Predicting which of the above fleet relocation concepts will be the most popular is easier with all of the information at hand. Get our full relocation whitepaper to make the best decision for the fleet management of your free-floating carshare program.