More than 50% of the population between 18 and 24 are matriculated at a University or similar higher education institution in The Netherlands. This gave us to understand that if we manage to gain national coverage (what we now have) in the future we would have a great impact on car-sharing uptake since so many people would learn about its existence early on (before they buy a car from their first annual salary).
Think about it, in ten years, a sizeable proportion of the Dutch population has completed a university degree and many learnt about the existence of car-sharingfrom StudentCar, isn’t that fantastic? Yes, that is what really got us, we wanted tohave this impact on the future mobility behaviour.
We all shared the same vision when we started StudentCar. 'Rotasocio Holding B.V.', how we are legally called, is Latin and stands for ‘shared wheel’. We wanted to fight unnecessary car-ownership and still do. Although we understand that in some rural areas car-ownership may be currently inevitable for lack of public transport for instance, car-ownership in urban areas is a paradigm we support to disappear. Rotterdam, StudentCar’s home-town, has been the first city in Europe with a pedestrian-only city centre area in 1953, and we believe the future will have sustainable-mobility-only city centres.
Back in 2008, we ran a survey asking students how likely they were to purchase a car within the first year after graduation. The result was striking. 71% answered “very likely”. As most students hunt jobs in urban areas this was alarming. We also understood where the problem came from. An overwhelming majority of students did not even know what car-sharing was. This was unbelievable (today we understand, it took a while to learn how students actually learn about new things). We were absolutely clear about the fact that car-sharing was unpopular amongst young adults in The Netherlands and we needed to change that.
StudentCar now for many people is just another service at Uni, just like internet, supermarkets and housing. And this is what we wanted to achieve!