Written bySiddhant Pandey ·
Car-sharing or rental services have become widely popular across the globe, allowing people to rent cars for short periods of time.
However, a car-sharing service in Japan noticed an anomaly- people were renting cars, but they weren't being driven.
Soon, other car-sharing services also reported the same issue when they checked mileage records.
So, why are people renting cars if not to drive them?
After Japanese car-sharing service Orix brought this trend to light, where rental cars were being returned after having "traveled no distance," car-sharing service providers started conducting surveys to solve the mystery, The Asahi Shimbun reported.
According to the publication, Times24 Co., a leading car-sharing service provider, also conducted a survey and found some peculiar reasons behind this absurd mystery.
According to the survey, people in Japan are using rental cars for all sorts of reasons such as an alternative workspace, storing their personal belongings, and even finding a private space to catch a quick nap!
After the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, people in the country also started using rental cars as a means to charge their phones, The Asahi Shimbun reported.
Notably, a 31-year-old man told the publication, "I rented a car to eat a boxed meal I bought at a convenience store because I couldn't find anywhere else to have lunch."
Other respondents said they used rental cars to nap as "renting a car to sleep is just a few hundred yen," and also used them for storage when nearby coin lockers were full.
Well, you can easily rent a car on your smartphones any time of the day for immediate use and pick them up from one of the 12,000+ parking places across Japan. They're also pretty cheap, costing a meager 400 yen (Rs. 258) for 30 minutes.
Separately, in a 2018 survey of 400 respondents, another vehicle-sharing service, NTT Docomo Inc., discovered that one in every eight customers used rental vehicles for reasons other than transportation.
The survey revealed people used cars to talk to friends, family, business clients in private, and even to make calls.
Others uses were watching TV, dressing up for Halloween, practise singing/rapping, do facial stretches, etc.
"Cars can be used for private space," the official in-charge of the NTT Docomo study told The Asahi Shimbun. "People used our vehicles in more ways than expected," they said, adding the number of people renting cars for non-driving purposes was on the rise.
However, not every car-sharing service provider is happy about this, they charge their customers more money when they log in mileage.
Addressing how some non-driving customers turn the engines on to use the AC/heater, an Orix public relations official said, "Motorists should shut off their engines when they're not driving, and we don't recommend our customers rent vehicles for purposes other than traveling."
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