Sharing economy could hold the key to Bristol’s financial concerns post Covid

16th July 2020

Categories: Latest News

While the full financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis is yet to be fully known, it is clear from a new survey of Bristol residents that concern over future household income is incredibly high.

Sharing economy could hold the key to Bristol’s financial concerns post Covid

Over half (52%) told that their income has decreased due to the pandemic, while 55% said they were rapidly reassessing all their household outgoings, including cars, shopping and holidays.

Cars were a key focus – with 42% of Bristol car owners saying they were now very unsure if they actually needed their vehicle every day, with the same number (42%) planning to use it a lot less over the coming months. 

A third (32%) also said they are considering renting out things they own in order to make additional income, with a quarter (26%) confirming that if all the right insurances were in place they would consider sharing their car with their community (either lending their car or hiring someone else’s car) - something which will soon be made easier with the official launch of Karshare in Bristol.

Karshare is the latest innovation from Car & Away, which partnered with Bristol Airport in 2019, and is a peer to peer car sharing company, which now enables people to rent their cars to others in their community – fully insured and covered for breakdown, using keyless technology. 

Throughout the pandemic, Karshare offered a free community car sharing scheme for frontline workers, charity workers and NHS and food bank volunteers to use. They established a fleet of over 150 cars, on loan from members of the Bristol community, insuring and valeting all the cars completely free of charge.

The brand’s research project, which investigated changing opinions in Bristol as we start to emerge out of lockdown, found that people are becoming more open to sharing with others in their area as a direct result of the pandemic.

While 45% of Bristolians said they felt a greater sense of community after pulling together during lockdown, over a third of people said they were now keen to share food, tools and skills like DIY with their neighbours. 

Andy Hibbert, Founder of Karshare, explained: “The sharing economy is not new – Airbnb, Spotify and JustPark are all familiar household names – however, the trend of localised sharing has been accelerated because of the crisis. During lockdown people got out there, helped their neighbours and pulled together - the sense of community has never been higher.

“Now, as concern moves towards how the pandemic will affect people’s finances, sharing an unused car with a neighbour to make extra cash, or even selling a second family car and hiring one locally as and when needed, can become a viable, sensible option for many.”

Not only this, but 68% of Bristol residents think there is an issue with too many cars in their area, compared to 60% nationally, and 69% think their city could be more sustainable. Andy continues: “The average car sits idle for 96% of the time and studies have shown that every car shared can take up to 6.1 vehicles of the road. With a quarter of Bristol residents willing to share their car with their neighbours, it not only offers a revenue opportunity in these uncertain times, but also means we’re not continuing to clog up our streets with more unused cars.”

Karshare was originally set to launch in the city in April, but when the pandemic hit entrepreneur Andy Hibbert and his team pivoted the business, that was already based at Bristol airport, to do good for key workers. Residents embraced the scheme and shared their cars with local key workers to help them travel to work safely, visit more people in need and transport vital goods and services. 

David Allen, Catering Department Supervisor at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, has been using Karshare during the pandemic. He said: "I'm in charge of ensuring 800 patients a day are fed, and so it's crucial I arrive at work on time to get prepared. Having use of the free car during the crisis has been incredibly helpful and made the task of getting to work straightforward and stress free. The pandemic made everything in life more difficult and stressful, but the positive side has been seeing how organisations like Karshare, and all the local car owners, have given back to the community. I'm happy to support them in the future; I'd much rather pay a member of the community to hire their car than a car hire company."

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees says: “The challenge of the pandemic has been met by a positive response from so many communities and organisations across the city. Seeing  businesses, such as Karshare, offer their services for free during the crisis and support Bristol through this time shows the best of Bristol. I would encourage all of us to continue to support each other as lockdown lifts and we rebuild back better.”

The scheme remains available for key workers to access “donated” cars, however as of 13 July, it will be possible for owners to rent their cars to their wider community neighbours who are happy to rent them to enable them to visit friends, relatives, take the family out for a day or simply drive to do everyday tasks.

To rent your car out, or to hire a car from someone in your community, please visit

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