First were the bikes. In several cities, people have become accustomed to using an application on their smartphones to share skinny girls. Now, in search of more sustainable metropolises, new (and interesting) shared car services are emerging. This week, we tried out two car sharing apps available in São Paulo.

The practicality in both cases is great. And you don't have to do much. Before using the services, it is only necessary to register directly in the application of each one. All you will need, of course, after downloading the app, is a valid driver's license and a credit card in your name; ready, approval takes no more than 24 hours. The tools are very similar. A map shows the location of the vehicles available at that time. When choosing the nearest one, just book the car. You have 15 minutes to get there ...

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One click on the app and the doors are unlocked. Simplicity comes as a surprise to anyone who has never tried the model. The keys are in the glove compartment - where there is also a card and a box responsible for connecting the car via a mobile network. This “black box” is responsible for all vehicle telemetry information. In addition to the location, how many kilometers you have traveled, if you have fuel, etc.

The first service we tested, the Urbano LDS Sharing, has 60 cars spread over some specific areas of the city; so-called “home zones”. For now there are 15 zones available in the capital of São Paulo. The “free floating” system allows you to take the car in any of these regions and return it, spontaneously, to another one that is closer to your destination. That is, there are no determined parking spots, only areas. Recently launched, the service showed minor instabilities, but it did not compromise our trip. The same application locks the car that is immediately available to the next user. The only thing that was missing was the statement of how much we spent at the end of the trip - a little problem that needs to be fixed in the app. Anyway, the billing system is per minute: one real and twenty cents.

After taking a walk on the little Smart, we tried a service that has been operating in São Paulo since 2010: Zazcar. Everything also works from the app, from booking the car to opening the doors. There are several units spread throughout the city. The difference is that in this system it is necessary to return the car in the same place where you got it - “round trip” model. It is not very interesting for those who want to go to work or will stay with the car for a long time before returning to the starting point. But it can work very well depending on the situation. Insurance and fuel are included in the rent. With a minimum charge of 20 reais, prices start at 10 reais per hour plus 60 cents per kilometer traveled. Each user has a credit of 20 reais for the first experience. So, our test is free. It is interesting to note that the two services reached a value close to those of services such as Uber and 99, for example - which shows that the model may be a new competitor for the “rental drivers”.

Vehicle sharing is a worldwide trend. It engaged the first in Brazil, but it is still far from the reality of some more developed countries and even more concerned with the mobility and sustainability of large cities. Worldwide, according to data from consultancy Frost & Sullivan, more than 7 million people use some form of sharing. Here, the number of users has more than doubled since last year, but it still does not reach 100 thousand, adding up all platforms. Anyway, a study carried out in five cities in the United States showed that, for each shared car, between seven and 11 vehicles stopped circulating on the streets. Result: less traffic and pollution combined with more savings. I hope fashion catches on ...