On April 21, 2014, Singaporean peer-to-peer car rentals startup iCarsclub will be meeting the Director of Land Transport Authority (LTA) to convince the government that an old law — possibly considered archaic — should be repealed.
According to the Private Car Rental Scheme (PCRS) under LTA, car owners can only lease out their cars on weekends, from Friday 7 PM to the following Monday 7 AM, and from 7 PM on the eve of public holidays to 7 AM on the first subsequent working day.
“iCarsclub cannot be used during the weekdays,” Clifford Teo, Managing Director, iCarsclub shared with e27. He noted that the government does have worries about congestion on the roads, should this law be removed, as more people might buy cars to rent it out. However, Teo argued that if there is a form of 24/7 car sharing, “people will tend to buy fewer cars, considering that there is a 50 per cent down payment.”
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Meanwhile, to build a case for iCarsClub, the team behind the platform is gathering data from an online survey to show the authorities that a 24/7 sharing economy is possible in Singapore. “We really need more people filling up the survey so that our sample size can be a bigger (one) and our presentation to the Director of Land Transport can be a lot more convincing,” he said.
At the moment, the company has gathered more than 300 responses. It aims to have at least 1,000 responses by this Monday.
In an article published March 2013, Channel News Asia reported that PCRS may be liberalised. It wrote, “The Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Transport has welcomed the possibility of liberalising the Private Car Rental Scheme, saying consumers will benefit from more competition.” Thus, Teo told this author that he is highly optimistic about the upcoming meeting on Monday, and added that iCarsclub needs more data to back up its claim.
Why the focus on Singapore?
With only around six team members left in Singapore, and more than 70 staffers in Beijing working on PPZuche, iCarsclub does not need to worry about Singapore. In fact, Teo said that things are going so well in Singapore that even if they do not disrupt and ruffle the feathers of this weekend-only law, the company will still do fine in this city-state.
However, as a Singaporean, he feels obligated to help boost the local sharing economy. He also raised the point that iCarsclub’s first investor was Singaporean venture capital firm Red Dot Ventures, which was not only supportive of what the company was doing, but far-sighted enough to see its potential.
Can Echelon Singapore Satellite 2013 winner iCarsclub pull it off?