Car for minutes, or Traficar – tutorial
For the past few years, automatic bicycle rental stations have been experiencing great success in Polish cities. For a small amount of money, you can rent a bicycle from an unmanned station. Admittedly, the applications for these rentals usually do not thrill with their functionality or appearance, but they are also not necessary for the rental process itself. In the past season, the Nextbike system registered 6 million bike rentals across Poland.
A new service is short term car rental – Traficar allows you to do just that. The application launched a few days ago in Krakow, and its premise looks great. Using it, you can rent one of the 100 new Opel Corsa, drive to your destination and leave it anywhere you want. The cars have a parking subscription, so you don’t have to worry about parking zones. The ride itself costs 50 gr for each minute of the ride and 80 gr for each kilometer traveled.
All registration is done in the app – in addition to the standard data, you also need to upload a photo of your driver’s license, no. ID card and credit card data. In my case there was a problem with the activation link, which did not want to arrive, but with the help of the Helpdesk on Traficar’s Facebook profile I managed to complete the registration (they even wrote back at 11 pm!). If you want to see how the app works, but without giving your data, there is an option “Try without logging in.”.
Once the registration is finalized, the car can be reserved. On the map in the app we can see where the nearest available cars are located.
After clicking on the pin, you will see how much fuel a given car has (with estimated range) and how far away it is from you, you can also book a car there.
The reservation is valid for 15 minutes, and the car is waiting for us at the agreed location.
To open the car you need to read the QR code from the windshield.
Then the app will display the message „The car is open”.
The keys and registration card can be found in the glove box.
Already at the start we can assess the condition of the car found.
After a minute after opening the door, charges start to accrue, so there is not much time to get ready to drive for free. When you arrive at your destination, put the keys in the glove box and get out of the car. Then you can end the ride in the app, which will also close the car. The screen will show information about the distance traveled and costs. I, for a 10 km ride for 28 minutes, paid 22 zł. The whole thing works clearly and smoothly.
What you can improve?
The app itself is transparent and works stably for now. Most can be changed in the map itself. First of all, it would be good if the map scaled by default so that you can immediately see the nearest car – at this point, if there is no car really close, in order to find a vehicle, you have to do a little „scroll”.
Google map would be a good solution. This is one of the better navigators, and integrating it with the Traficar app would make life easier. The ride estimation feature that works so well in the Uber app would also come in handy, as well as codes for free rides, also known from Uber, and a system for recommending the app to friends.
Of the more technical issues, it would certainly be useful to have a place for the phone in the car. I’m even surprised that the vehicle you need the app to run doesn’t have such a place. It is also important to remember that you can not leave your car in an underground garage, for example. In the gallery, because in the case of lack of coverage, it is impossible to lock the car and give it away.
Summary. The application, as well as the service itself, is very interesting and there is certainly a great demand for a “car for a while”. I hope the fleet will grow and the app will be developed with new features.