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Car Sharing Singapore Comparison (2018) – Smove vs Blue SG vs Tribe Car vs Car Club vs Whizz Car

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Eugenia Liew

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When my rustbucket hit the big 1-0 last year, I decided it was simply too expensive to continue owning a car. It is, after all, a depreciating asset and I’m supposed to be MoneySmart… right? I haven’t been behind the wheel since, but perhaps now that I’ve discovered car sharing in Singapore, that might change.

Car sharing is basically the Obike/ofo of cars: You search for a nearby car, “unlock” it with a card or app, and drive it to your destination.

With a quick glance at the rates, car sharing seems like a godsend, especially for people whose driver’s licences do nothing but buy beer at 7-11. (shuffles feet guiltily)

Prices are advertised as just a couple of dollars per hour, but after doing some calculations and adding in hidden costs (subscription fees, registration fees, petrol, etc)… Lo and behold! It comes up almost comparable to steep Grab and taxi fares, and for those, you don’t even need to drive. Sian, looks like I’m sticking to the MRT.

To be fair, it’s worth it if you have a lot of barang or if you’re transporting difficult cargo (kids) and are going to multiple places within the time frame.

Here’s a price comparison of the 5 car sharing operators Car Club, Tribe Car, Whizz Car, Smove and BlueSG offering hourly car rental.

 

Car sharing Singapore comparison (2018): Which is the cheapest?

All four operators have slightly different pricing systems, so I will compare the prices as a first-time user opting for the no- or lowest-commitment membership tier and the cheapest 4-seater car available.

Let’s assume I want to book the car for 7pm to 9pm (2 hours) on a weekday to drive about 30 km. The costs are the same for 2 hours on Saturday or Sunday.

Car sharing operator Price for 2 hours Pricing breakdown  
Whizz Car $24.94 All-in: $13 (first hour) + $11.94 (subsequent hour) + additional 10km mileage $4.30 (first 20km free)  
Tribe Car $36.92 All-in: $13.92 per hour + petrol* $23
Car Club $44.10 Subscription fee $10.70 + car rental fee $22 + mileage fee $11.40
Smove $50 $50 for 3 hours (minimum 3-hour package)
BlueSG $60 All-in: $0.50 x 120 minutes

* Tribe Car petrol top-up calculation: 95-Octane fuel $2.30 x 10L (approximately ¼ tank)

Some things to note about car sharing:

  • Buffer a few days’ lead time before your membership is approved. Your driver’s licence and record need to be reviewed upon application and approved before you can book cars.
  • All operators cover their drivers with basic insurance.
  • Costs incurred for ERP and parking (non-designated lots) will be borne by you.
  • Different operators have “stations” and cars at different districts, so be sure to check that they’re in your area before you commit to a membership plan.
  • Most of the car sharing operators require a safety deposit during the period of your membership.
  • For more information on car sharing guidelines in Singapore, visit the Car Sharing Association of Singapore’s website.

 

Whizz Car – cheapest no-commitment membership plan

Whizz Car Individual plan Whizzy-Ezzy plan 
Subscription fee $10.70 Free  
Insurance provided? Yes Yes
Petrol included? Yes, top-up with the ESSO SpeedPass provided
Price plan Discounted rates, but there is a one-time $107 registration fee + $10.70/ month subscription fee + minimum 1-year commitment Standard rental rates. Pay per use (no subscription and registration fees, and no membership commitment period)
Car rental fee (first hour) $10.86 $13
Car rental fee (after first hour, in blocks of 30 mins) $4.90 $5.97
Mileage fee Limited free mileage per booking (1st hour: 10km free, subsequent 30 mins: 5km free). Anything beyond that is  $0.43 per km (all price plans).
Cars in the fleet 158
Car sharing stations 50+

Whizz Car step-by-step:

  1. Apply for membership online (Plans: Individual, Whizzy-Ezzy or Corporate)
  2. Receive a key fob for unlocking cars
  3. Reserve a car online or via phone call
  4. Collect your car and drive around
  5. Top up petrol to at least half tank (using Speedpass attached to the keys, no payment needed)
  6. Return car to original parking site

There are two membership plans for Whizz Car – Individual and Whizzy-Ezzy. The individual plan is a premium annual membership that entitles you to discounted rates. However, unless you intend to rent the cars VERY OFTEN, you’re not likely to get enough bang for your buck. There’s a one-time $107 registration fee AND you’ll have to pay $10.70 monthly (that’s $128.40 per year).

If you’re just trying it out and don’t want any commitments, go for the Whizzy-Ezzy membership. There’s no subscription fee, no registration fee, and no minimum commitment period. However, you pay about 20% more.

Whizz Car is currently the cheapest of the four because they have a “super economy” class of cars (under 1.4L) which are priced more affordably. For the rest, the “economy” tiers typically feature car models which are 1.6L to under 2L.

For the super-economy class for cars (Whizzy-Ezzy membership), it’s $13 for the first hour, and $5.97 for every subsequent ½ hour ($11.94/ hour). For the first hour you are entitled to 10km free mileage, and 5km for each subsequent ½ hour. You’re charged $0.43/ km if you exceed that.

Because you need to collect and return the car at the same Whizz Car parking site (there are about 50+ of them), it’s more suitable for return trips and not one-way trips. Additionally, Whizz Car has one of the fewest cars (158) and stations (50+), so make sure to check that they have designated cars in your area before you commit to anything.

 

Tribe Car – best for off-peak hour driving

Tribe Car
Subscription fee None
Insurance provided? Yes
Petrol included? No, but you don’t need to pump to a full tank (you just cannot return the car with an empty tank)
Car rental fee (per hour) $2.14 (super off-peak) / $4.82 (off-peak) / $6.96 (peak)
Cars in the fleet 324
Car sharing stations 220+

Tribe Car step-by-step:

  1. Apply for membership online
  2. Reserve a car online
  3. Collect your car, unlocking it via web app.
  4. Drive around
  5. Return car to original parking site

Tribe Car is the only car sharing operator with no subscription fee and no forced commitments. Everyone gets the same prices, which is great if you just need the car for a one-off thing.

Tribe Car claims to hate hidden charges and boasts rates from as low as $2.14/ hour and while it is pretty cheap, you can very quickly spend a lot if you need to cover a lot of mileage. It’s more suitable for those who need to hold on to the car for longer periods, but are actually only driving short distances.

This is because you must “top up fuel for your drive and return fuel at any level so long as the fuel light does not comes up”. For the above example, I calculated the price based on pumping quarter tank, but it really depends on your luck and how much fuel the previous driver left for you. I suppose this is fair, because it’s not Tribe Car that’s extorting money from you – you’re literally paying for the fuel you use.

You are charged by the duration of rental, and the price depends on when your booking is.  Weekends and 5pm to 11pm are the most expensive periods (peak, whole day). Here’s the peak hour timing table:
Tribe Car peak hours:

Mon to Thu Fri Sat and Sun
Midnight to 6am Super off-peak Super off-peak Peak
6am to 7am Off-peak Off-peak Peak
7am to 11am Peak Peak Peak
11am to 5pm Off-peak Off-peak Peak
5pm to 11pm Peak Peak Peak
11pm to midnight Off-peak Peak Peak

As you can see, it’s the cheapest to book a Tribe Car if you need it past midnight on weekdays. But that’s not useful for much, except late night suppers and ladies’ night (but you shouldn’t be driving if you’re drinking).

Booking on Tribe Car is slightly troublesome: First of all, you can’t just link your credit card to your account. Instead, you need to load credits into your account and use it pay for bookings (any amount is fine). Also, you cannot amend your bookings on the go; you will need to make a new booking and cancel the existing one.

At 324, Tribe Car has the most number of shareable cars. But like Whizz Car, you will also need to return your Tribe Car to its original parking spot once you’re done, so no one-way trips.

 

Car Club – the longest running car sharing operator

Car Club
Subscription fee $10.70 monthly (all price plans)
Insurance provided? Yes
Petrol included? Yes
Price plan – standard Standard rental rates, pay per use
Price plan – value Discounted rates, but must put in $50 credits each month  
Car rental fee (first hour) $11 (standard) / $9 (value)
Car rental fee (after first hour, in blocks of 15 mins) $2.75 (standard) / $1.75 (value)
Mileage fee (per km) $0.38 (standard) / $0.31 (value)
Cars in the fleet 260+
Car sharing stations 110+

Car Club step-by-step:

  1. Apply for membership online (Standard or Value, both $10.70/ month)
  2. Receive a smart pass for unlocking cars (via courier)
  3. Reserve a car online or via mobile app
  4. Collect your car and drive around
  5. Return car to original parking site

Car Club is the oldest, most established car sharing operator – they’ve been in the business since 1997 – and so it makes sense that they’re one of the most expensive. Car Club charges both by duration and mileage, which means you can’t save even if you don’t need to cover long distances.

You’ll need to pay subscription ($10.70) no matter which membership you choose, but if you opt for the value price plan, you save about 22% on rental and mileage costs. However, you will need to pre-pay $50 at the start of each cycle and use it for the month.

Any outstanding balance at the end of the month will be forfeited, so this only makes sense if you’re confident you’ll spend at least $50/month – looking at their prices, it shouldn’t be too hard if you’re making at least 2 or 3 trips monthly.

After the first hour, Car Club charges in blocks of 15 minutes, which is slightly more generous than Whizz Car who charges every subsequent half an hour. There are over 110 stations and 260 cars in their fleet, which is quite a lot compared to the rest.

 

Smove – best value for rentals longer than 3 hours

Smove
Subscription fee None
Insurance provided? Yes
Petrol included? Yes
Car rental fee (first hour) $50 (minimum 1 hour booking, but minimum $50 rental fee, which is the price of the 3-hour package)
Car rental fees $30 (3h) / $90 (6h) / $120 (12h) / $150 (24h)
Cars in the fleet 450
Car sharing stations 90

Smove step-by-step:

  1. Apply for membership online or via mobile app (weekly or 1-year premium)
  2. Link EZ-Link card to your account (for unlocking cars)
  3. Reserve a car online
  4. Collect your car and drive around
  5. Return car to any Smove parking site

Smove’s pricing mechanic is not friendly for those who are just looking for a quick ride: While the minimum rental duration is 1 hour (like the rest), the minimum rental price is $50. That’s the package price for a 3-hour booking though, so you might as well give yourself more time.

The value gets better as you increase your booking period to 6 hours ($90; $15/ hour), 12 hours ($120; $10/hour) and 24 hours ($150; $6.25/ hour) respectively. There is only 1 membership tier, and it’s free – no subscription fees or any hidden charges.

Smove and BlueSG are the only operators that allows you to pickup and drop-off your car at any of designated parking site. So if you need a ride to work, you can collect a car near your home, and return it near your workplace. However, you don’t really need this perk if you’re going to be booking it for extended periods of time as you’re probably going to make several return trips.

 

BlueSG – electric cars only, so no petrol needed

BlueSG
Subscription fee $15 monthly (premium 1-year, none for weekly membership)  
Insurance provided? Yes
Petrol included? All BlueSG cars are electric, so there is no need for petrol.  
Price plan – weekly High rental rates, but pay per use (no subscription and registration fees)
Price plan – premium (1-year) Discounted rates, but there $15 / month subscription fee + minimum 1-year commitment  
Car rental fee (per hour) $30 per hour (weekly, based on $0.50/min) / $19.80 per hour (premium 1-year, based on $0.33/min)
Cars in the fleet 1,000
Car sharing stations 100+

BlueSG step-by-step:

  1. Apply for membership online or via mobile app (weekly or 1-year premium)
  2. Choose to receive a BlueSG card or link your account with your EZ-Link card (for unlocking cars)
  3. Reserve a car online or via mobile app
  4. Unplug and collect your car
  5. Drive around
  6. Return car to any BlueSG parking site

BlueSG has perhaps the most unique concept – they have a full fleet of electric cars for sharing. This means that the cars are charged at their designated lots, so you don’t have to worry about or fuss over petrol. You may think this translates to savings in petrol, but that’s not really the case – the all-in rental fees are quite steep, especially if you don’t commit to the 1-year “relationship”.

They charge solely by time, and for the “swinging single” weekly plan, it costs a whopping $0.50 per minute. That’s $30 per hour, which is 1.5X the discounted price of $19.80 per hour ($0.33 per minute for annual membership plan).

If you intend to go for BlueSG, you should really sign up for the 1-year membership, because it’s a lot cheaper. But don’t forget to take into account the $15 monthly subscription fee.

BlueSG and Smove are the only operators that allows you to pickup and drop-off your car at any of designated parking site, and for short bookings under 3 hours, BlueSG may be the most cost-efficient option.

Have you tried car sharing with any of these operators (Car Club, Tribe Car, Whizz Car, Smove and BlueSG)? Share your experience with us in the comments below! 

 

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Eugenia Liew

I’m a 90s millennial who’s starting to realise that #adulting is more expensive than it seems on Instagram. When I’m not writing for MoneySmart, I’m usually playing with drain-dwelling stray cats or shopping at Sephora.