French co-op network extends car hiring model to new cities

The Yea! scheme, launched two years ago in Strasbourg, allows users to reserve vehicles with a phone app

A co-operative car-hiring scheme in France is extending its services to Lyon.

Launched two years ago in Strasbourg, Yea! enables customers to use cars for as long as they want. It received funding from the French government through the Programme d’investissements d’avenir (Future investments programme), which supports local innovative projects that aim to boost employment.

The initiative is run by Citiz, a co-operative society of collective interest (Scic) set up as France Autopartage in 2002 by car-sharing pioneers across France. Since it was set up locally by public enterprises and co-ops, the network is itself a co-op with both users and those involved in running it taking part in the decision-making process.

Today, the co-op includes 12 local, independent car-sharing businesses. Strategic decisions are taken by an administrative council made up of representatives of its 12 members.

Citiz shared vehicles are available across 90 French cities, with a fleet of 1,000 cars, which are being used by 25,000 people across 500 stations. The Yea! Scheme currently operates in Marseille, Lyon, Grenoble and Strasbourg using 100 identical vehicles.

The service is aimed particularly at young urbanites, who prefer not to have to go through a lengthy registration process or return the car to a designated place. Users pay between €0.10 per minute and €0.35 per km or €5 per hour, with discounts available for those wishing to pay a subscription. Once they are registered they can find nearby vehicles using a smartphone app and reserve them 15 minutes prior their journey.

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