On the first day of MWC’s startup conference 4YFN we walked into CEO of Drivy, and as we had a plan to rent a car next morning anyway to pick up 3-men weight of CoFounder Magazines from airport we decided to give it a go.
The essence of Drivy and other P2P car sharing apps is very much similar to AirBNB, but there is one major difference – you can drive the rented car into the traffic and the risk something serious could happen is surely higher than with any flat.
You can rent a small tourist car online for quite a reasonable price in Barcelona, but taking it from the rental firm office, chasing available cars, seems to be often quite costly.
So after a busy day at the fair, at AirBNB around midnight I download the app and create a profile – all nice and smooth. But as for most AirBNB apartments, the owner has to approve your request. If he/she has no time to give you the car or need it that day themselves or do not like your profile due to bad review they can just decline.
For my first option the request is not even sent – the notice time – for next a.m. is too short for the person. I pick three more cars I send request to: a van and a mid-sized family car and a small SUV. The van owner responds within minutes and as we quickly agree on handover times in Drivy chat window I pull back two other requests.
I prepay 28 euros for the full rental. So far all perfect 10/10.
We schedule a meeting for 11:00, she apologies being late as it was her first time to rent the car too and was confused with how many papers exactly need to be printed and copied. There is dozen pages of different copies she gives to us for insurance and/or police. It takes time.
Then we go to check the car and it takes some more time. Then we do contract in the app and we drive out only 12:15.
Barcelona has busy roads through the day, but we got home before the dark.
Fair enough, she cannot do much over long discussion with the Spanish guard of the parking hall: he allows the car to be returned before 16:00 when his shift ends, later in the evening it would have to be parked by the owner. All of these parking house guards in Spain (I have met a few more) seem to think they are the kings of their small universe, they’re not there to serve clients. However, when I return the car at 14:30 this king even smiled to me and gave me thumb up.
The van is past its best days, that’s said in the ad, but I do struggle a bit with the gearbox. It’s been a few years since I last drove with manual gearbox and for this car finding reverse takes force and time. The owner warns us about that in the garage so we were aware of it.
In the evening, after car-owner’s working hours I return the keys, she checks the car and we depart happily.
Eventually it was a positive experience, and surely the first time for us both meant the one hour for handing over the car will be shorter in the future. We have some local attempts bubbling in Nordics for similar car sharing platforms, but when will Drivy land in our home market in Nordics?
Not this year, tells Drivy’s CEO Paulin Dementhon. This year the firm plans to expand to three more markets, and Nordics and Baltics are for 2017.