Shared Life: Is Ownership A Thing Of The Past?

share economy

There’s a certain pressure on Irish people to buy a home. You’d be forgiven for thinking this is part of growing up for everyone but that’s not the case. Sure enough in Spain, about 80% of people buy, in Ireland that’s closer to 70% and in Germany, the rate drops to about 50%. In fact, many Germans are not bothered about buying at all, opting instead to rent their gaff for life. Why? Well, rental spaces in Germany are often quite nice. You furnish the place yourself and get to make it feel like home. It’s also good value.

To get this experience in Ireland, you’ve got to buy. On the surface, it’s weird to us but think about it. When you rent a car on holidays, you’re often renting a car that’s nicer the one you own. This is the power of rentals and this is why sharing is the future and ownership is in the past. Let me give you some more examples.

Dublin Bikes, Coca Cola Bikes and Bleeper Bikes

Getting around Dublin can be an absolute nightmare. Well, that’s if you drive. Last week I spent nearly an hour getting from the city centre to Dublin airport. We don’t have decent public transport and congestion is rife. I choose to scoot, but many turn to bikes. There are some options for bike ownership, like the Bike to Work scheme, but bikes have a bad habit of going missing in the city. You need to look after them, lock them and fix them when you get a flat because of broken glass on a Monday morning.

Ownership of a bike, for many, can suck. That’s why bike share systems like Dublin Bikes or Bleeper Bikes have become massively popular. A similar service called Coca Cola bikes is available in Limerick, Galway and Cork. Instead of paying a couple of hundred euro for a bike, you pay for the bike only when you use it. Depending on your usage, this could work out substantially cheaper. Regardless of your usage, there’s a fair chance it’s a lot less hassle.

The systems aren’t perfect. Bleeper Bike met resistance from Dublin City council and Dublin Bike stands can be empty or full, meaning you can’t take or drop off a bike. However, the advantages outweigh the negatives for many. It’ll be interesting to see if electric scooter sharing ever comes to Ireland, an idea that, right now, I’m against.

GoCar and Yuko

While I swear by my electric scooter to get around Dublin, I’m a country boy. That means I do still have a car. My partner drives it more than me, but living in the city centre we’re extremely lucky. We’ve got a parking spot that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg for a start. But we’re in a minority. When I think of the sheer number of apartments in the city where parking isn’t an option, I struggle to grasp how anyone can really own a car in Dublin.

That’s why companies like GoCar or Toyota’s Yuko are extremely popular. Instead of buying a car, you just rent one for as long as you need it. It’s not terribly expensive either. GoCar costs about €8 per hour and includes fuel, insurance and most on-street parking. If you just need a car the odd time, car-sharing makes way more sense than actually buying a motor.

There’s one fault in the car-sharing systems in Ireland. You need to drop your car back to where you picked it up from. A real pity because I’ve seen these systems work in Germany and they are mighty. Just pick up the car and leave it where you like. You can even change city with some providers.

Faults aside, car-sharing is one of the best things to happen to Dublin residents who need a trip to IKEA but don’t want to buy a car for that privilege.

Be sure to give us a follow on your social platform of choice as I’ll be test driving Yuko really soon too.

Entertainment: Spotify, Netflix and Gaming

The shift from an ownership to rental mentality goes beyond big purchases. There was a time when buying CDs from your favourite musicians was the norm. Buying DVDs to add to your home cinema selection was almost a collectors effort. Gaming meant you needed a console and a few bob to pop into GameStop for a few games.

All of these things have gone out the window in recent years.

Instead of hoarding physical discs and tapes, we stream from a plethora of services like Netflix, Prime Video and Spotify. Gaming is just about to go through the most radical change too. Google will release Stadia in November later this year. Google Stadia removed the need for people to own a games console or even games.

People just aren’t bothered with owning all of this stuff and instead are more than happy to pay monthly fees to have the option of dipping in and out of entertainment on tap.

So the question now is, will ownership mentality continue to change in Ireland? Will we move away from buying and shift towards renting more? Let us know what you think in the comments.