Johnny de Mearns is an artist, yoga instructor and masseur from Bristol. Dad to 4 boys, he has recently swapped out his 23 year old Toyota Picnic for a brand new hybrid car and is now renting it out to his community via Karshare.
“I first read about Karshare in an article and thought it was a totally brilliant idea, but I knew my 23 year old car, which was already on its way out, wouldn’t be eligible for sharing. After that car was hit by another vehicle and finally written off, there was an opportunity for change.”
His passion for sustainability was at the forefront of his decision making. “For years I have walked around Bristol thinking, “Why are our streets lined with all this metal? Why are we churning money into petrol companies and repair companies and lubricant companies when we could de-metal our streets and create space?’
Car sharing was a total no brainer to me but there is this 20th century paradigm of ‘it’s mine’ and the need to demonstrate something through ownership. What Karshare is doing is inviting people to be less possessive about their car and showing people that car ownership is no longer a necessity, but a choice.”
Johnny’s car usage has been “up and down” as a single parent who looks after his kids four days a week. “Public transport is unfeasible for me – it would take weeks off my life ferrying everyone about and carrying the shopping.”
A vehicle also comes in handy for his work as an artist and yoga instructor. “I do a lot of big art work, which requires me to transport materials around on occasion. I also need to travel in between yoga classes quickly, which just wouldn’t work with a bike.”
Johnny thought about replacing his Picnic with a newer car but, “it just struck me that I would be investing 8 grand in a car that’s just going to sit there and depreciate, essentially. I’ve got better things to do with that money.”
For environmental reasons, he also knew he wanted an upgrade that would move him away from pure diesel or petrol. “Some kind of eco aspect when travelling just made sense.”
That’s when he was introduced to Karshare’s Lease and Share team, who worked with a leasing partner to offer Johnny a brand new hybrid Toyota Prius+. “It had to be a quick process because I needed a new car quickly.” Within 48 hours of selecting his new leased vehicle, Johnny had picked it up from London and started liaising with the Karshare team to get the car sharing technology installed.
“I wouldn’t have gone for a leased car if it was just for me but through car sharing, there is the opportunity to facilitate change and to earn back some of the money spent on leasing.”
Johnny is “really enjoying having a hybrid car – it’s easy and nice to drive.” His decision to opt for another 7 seater was influenced by the demand he had seen in Bristol. “It struck me as a good idea to have a vehicle that people could rent out to go to IKEA with or use to travel with their whole family.”
Johnny hopes that his example will inspire others to start thinking about sharing. “I would absolutely recommend everyone do it, I think it’s fantastic. No matter what vehicle you have, there are people in your area who will want to rent it. And think of the end goal: to get to a place where we only need 3 or 4 cars on each street is dynamite. That would just be so cool.”
If you are interested in renting out your car, head to www.app.karshare.com/list-your-car