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It’s not an easy year for the car sharing industry. mobility center gmbh, which operates the teilauto and cityflitzer brands, also felt the effects of this. Nevertheless, the central german company is now once again recording significant growth in customer numbers.
"in the first half of 2020, around 4.000 new users registered, including 2.500 for part-car and 1.500 for cityflitzer," explains patrick schone, one of the two managing directors. The total number is roughly the same as that recorded by the car-sharing provider in the same period of the previous year. "the result surprised us and made us proud in equal measure. It’s a sign for us that things are moving forward," adds co-director michael creutzer.
With the strict contact restrictions in march and april, the utilization of shared cars initially plummeted, on some days by as much as 80 percent. "because travel reasons such as business appointments, family celebrations or vacations were cancelled, our fleet naturally also came to a standstill," says fleet manager schone.
However, fixed costs such as rent for the more than 600 carsharing stations in saxony, saxony-anhalt and thuringia continued to run. "it was a situation that threatened our existence, but the great solidarity of our customers gave us courage. nearly 300 people have volunteered to sponsor a station to help maintain our carsharing network," says creutzer, a transportation economist by training.
Despite sponsorships and K loans, the slump in easter business weighed heavily on the company’s performance. Normally, the number of carsharing vehicles is increased from the spring onwards to meet vacation demand. In april of this year, it was unthinkable that. Instead, the fleet was thinned out to include less-used vehicles.
Since mid-June, the tide has gradually turned again. "when it became clear that many people would be spending their vacations in germany this summer, we decided to use this as an opportunity," describes patrick schone. The fleet was restarted in record time. 120 new vehicles joined the fleet in the past six weeks. As the number of cars increased, so did the number of new customers.
"it’s a year that demands a lot from us," is how michael creutzer sums up the situation. "in terms of capacity utilization, we are still not where we want to be. The total number of kilometers driven is also far below what we had expected at the beginning of the year."nevertheless, the company sees the growth in customer numbers as a positive signal. "the popularity we’re experiencing right now shows us that carsharing is an important pillar in a sustainable transportation mix for many people – even in times of pandemic."
The carsharing service teilauto started in 1992 as an ecological association in halle an der saale, Germany. As the fleet grew in size, the part-car business was transferred to mobility center gmbh in 2004. For the past two years, the company has also been operating the stationless carsharing service cityflitzer.
Currently, the company’s shared car service is available in a total of 20 cities in saxony, saxony-anhalt and thuringia. Its total 46.500 users, it provides around 1.300 shared vehicles ready. The service is certified with the blue angel eco-label.