While we have just (not) celebrated the 5th anniversary of the autolib \’Autolib\’ car-sharing service at the end of 2016, the financial balance of the service continues to deteriorate with a forecast of 180 million euros of loss that the group Bolloré will not honor alone.
Despite more than 131,000 subscribers, Autolib \’is not profitable
From the launch, Vincent Bolloré had made Autolib \’a showcase. Like any showcase it has a cost and the Bolloré Group expected to absorb 60 million euros of losses, if there were losses. The announced financial equilibrium has been steadily declining. 50 000 subscribers at the beginning, then 60 000, then quickly 100 000. Today, Autolib \’is more than 131 000 subscribers and the balance is obviously still not reached.
In fact, the perimeter of the service has continued to increase. First confined to Paris and several neighboring municipalities, the service has quickly become the “car sharing Ile de France” covering 97 municipalities. In addition, VTCs and car-pooling services have grown. For some journeys, Autolib \’no longer has for him the advantage tariff that he had at the beginning in relation to the taxis.
Cars less available
If the number of subscribers increases, the number of trips, which reached almost 6.3 million in 2015, dropped to 5.8 million in 2016. The hourly rate has increased, compensating for the decrease in journeys, but certainly also against This number of trips. The increase in revenue is “erased” by the increase in the cost of the service. More stations, more cars, income per car stagnates.
In fact, Autolib \’is a victim of its success. More subscribers mean less car availability for each subscriber. Unless they increase drastically, which inevitably burdens the overall cost of the service. The firm 6-t, which looked at the data of the union Autolib \’Metropole, estimates that there is 50% more subscriber per car.
According to projections, in 2023, at the end of the current contract, losses could reach 179 million euros if nothing is done. In this contract, the Bolloré group undertook to cover 60 million euros as we said above. The 119 million euros will remain the responsibility of the communes, and therefore, the inhabitants via their taxes.
The Ile de France is about 5 million homes. Compared to this number, the losses are therefore about 36 euros per household, for 8 years of contract. A straw. But, a straw that will add to everything else.
Advertising ? Remove unprofitable stations?
What are the possible ways to “save the soldier Autolib \'” ? The firm 6-t proposes the general application of advertising on the Bluecar. Probably a bit limited level legislation, but a source of additional funding that some elected Parisians estimate to 400,000 euros per year. Far from the millions needed.
Another solution would be to increase the price. Autolib \’has already started with a price of half an hour spent in early December 2016 from 6 to 7 euros. Recharging on the Autolib \’terminals will also increase from 1 February. The daylight-saving time, at 1 euro per hour currently, will increase to 1 euro the first hour, then 3 euros / hour. The goal is to create a bearing and avoid cupping cars. Same for the night refill. In addition, the ceiling increases from 4 euros to 6 euros / night. The reservation of the place for a refill will now cost 1 euro. This should also report to Autolib \’.
Some elected officials are proposing to remove the least profitable stations. Basically this is THE solution. Redefine the perimeter and go down in dimension. This would lower the running costs and also bring a little more car back to the used stations. Currently, there are nearly 1100 stations in 97 municipalities. These deletions would concern 15% of stations.
What if it was the (small) price to pay for pollution?
Beyond these ideas, a more global reflection on these car-sharing systems would also be necessary. They contribute doubly to the depollution of the city. Firstly because electric vehicles do not pollute the use (*), but also, because the 4 000 cars Autolib \’replace thousands of cars, statistically thermal, which would pollute and encumber still more the metropolis of Paris.
And if the 119 million euros in debt, for a contract from 2011 to 2023, were one of the prices to pay to reduce pollution in Paris and its suburbs? The data from Airparif \’have been sufficiently debated to show that the share of the automobile is “low” in the global pollution to the particles, but if one wants to decrease the place of the car in town, does this not pass Not by a voluntary policy and funding at a loss of the largest carsharing service in the world?
Even with only 2.5 million households (the whole of the Ile de France is not covered by the service), 119 million euros over the 12 years of the contract, it is finally 4 euros per year, Tax for these households. The “Navigo pass” is subsidized much more than that, as is public transport in general. A priori, the various communes should share the 119 million euros pro rata the number of Bluecar available in their territory.
To finance part of the Navigo pass, the Region Ile de France levies a tax on fuel. It could be done the same, 1 or 2 cents per liter of fuel, to finance several years of Autolib \’. The slight decrease in pollution induced by Autolib \’is, according to the studies, to reduce chronic diseases,\’ premature death \’, and so on. Is it not worth the candle or should a system of car-sharing necessarily be profitable on its own?
Such reflections must be made between politicians and citizens. But the presence of a private actor, Bolloré in addition, visibly fails the prospect and tense discussions. If Autolib \’was a beneficiary, some would quickly blame the enrichment of a private via a service “that should be public”.
It should be noted that the other carsharing services on the same model as Autolib \'(Lyon, Bordeaux, Turin, Singapore, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, etc.) have a smaller perimeter and should not experience the same losses Of losses at all.
Finally, a reflection that must be carried out, is to ask whether this 180 million loss over 8 years could be invested elsewhere for a result against pollution more important.
(*) The pollution is deported to the source of electricity production, depending on the nature of this production