50, from Zürich, Mobility member since 2000
There are many reasons why someone might give away their car and start using Mobility. Still, it’s safe to say that not many Mobility members, if any, can match the amazing story that Denise Gfeller, 50, has to tell. “It all began with a robbery”! says Denise with a laugh. Her story goes back more than 20 years, but she still remembers quite vividly how someone began pounding on her door at four o’clock in the morning. Denise was pregnant at the time, and before she was even fully awake, six policemen in full gear had stormed into her flat. As she found out later, they were there because a jewellery store in the centre of Zurich had been robbed a couple of hours earlier. The police had identified the car owned by Denise and her boyfriend as the getaway vehicle. “Fortunately, the police realised very quickly that we couldn’t have committed the robbery”, Denise explains. Denise hadn’t used the car in a while, which is why she didn’t notice that her VW Golf had been stolen a few days earlier. Because she didn’t know this, she also hadn’t reported it stolen– which is why the police didn’t know the car was stolen either.
It wasn’t unusual for Denise to leave her car parked for a long period of time without driving it. “We got the car pretty cheap, but we soon noticed that we really didn’t need it”, she explains. The memorable incident with the police then offered Denise and her boyfriend the “ideal opportunity” to get rid of the car for good, and Denise has never regretted that decision. In fact, she recently took her 1’000th trip with Mobility. “If you ask me what the biggest benefit is that Mobility offers, I would have to say that whether you’re going shopping, moving house, or have to transport something – you can always get exactly the vehicle you need in a particular situation”, Denise says.
Denise also likes to use Mobility vehicles when she attends events outside of Zurich: “That way, you get home safely and comfortably even from a remote village.” She says her Mobility membership pays off financially as well: “You can’t just focus on the numbers because you also have to consider the value of not having to take care of anything with the vehicle – there’s no maintenance, no cleaning, no changing tyres: It’s pure luxury!” As Denise also explains, the only reason to use a car “is to get from A to B. Otherwise, I don’t want to have anything to do with cars at all.” She was already beginning to feel that way before her visit from the police – and that episode removed any remaining doubts she may have had.
49, from Zürich, member since 2002
Quirin Keeris certainly wouldn’t describe himself as a Mobility “power user”: “It’s possible for me to go six months without using Mobility – and then use it several times in just one month.” Indeed, it’s exactly this type of flexibility that Quirin, 49, appreciates so much about the Mobility concept. “It’s a good feeling to know that I can always get access to a vehicle if I need one”, he explains. As it turns out, there was a situation a few years ago in which Quirin did in fact book a Mobility vehicle in order to drive someone to the emergency department at night.
Quirin decided to get a Mobility subscription back when both he and the company were younger. He has also been following the company’s development with great interest. “The quality of service has increased significantly over the last 20 years”, he says, adding that the cleanliness and general condition of the vehicles in particular have improved: “In the early years, you might have sometimes found ‘half a bakery’ from the family that had previously used the car on the back seat”, Quirin says with a laugh. “The fuel gauge was also often near empty.” As Quirin points out, this is also no longer a problem today.
Quirin lives near Letzigrund stadium in the centre of Zurich. “You could say I’m more or less surrounded by Mobility stations”, he says with a smile. Whether it’s a compact car, an estate car or a van he needs – it only takes a few steps for 49-year-old Quirin to find the right vehicle. It’s therefore not surprising that the member of the cooperative sees no need to cancel his subscription after so many years: “Mobility is and will remain for me the best alternative to owning my own car.”
Quirin especially appreciates the Mobility One-Way driving mode, which allows users to drive from Mobility station A to Mobility station B and then leave the vehicle there. “I don’t mind at all paying a little more for this additional extra”, Quirin explains. He also says he hopes Mobility will remain innovative in future: “For example, I’m eagerly awaiting the day when the fleet is switched over completely to electric vehicles.”
53, from Feldmeilen, Mobility member since 1997
Yvonne and Peter Pirchl-Zaugg were sharing vehicles long before the term “car sharing” became so well known. Back in the early 1990s, Yvonne and her boyfriend (and husband today) were studying geography at the University of Zurich and living in the city’s Höngg neighbourhood. Zurich is a relatively large city, so the public transport system is very good. Nevertheless, the couple decided it would be helpful if they could get access to a car every once in a while. After the two saw a story about the ShareCom car sharing platform in a local newspaper, they quickly knew what they wanted to do. “We joined the cooperative, and after that we were able to enjoy the privilege of being able to access a growing fleet of vehicles”, Yvonne recalls. “The great thing was that we ourselves never could have afforded a car back then.” What no one could know at the time was that ShareCom would soon merge with ATG AutoTeilet Genossenschaft from Stans, leading to the establishment of Mobility in 1997.
Yvonne and Peter own a car these days – but they are still members of Mobility as well. “Mobility has continuously expanded its vehicle network over the years, so what the cooperative now has to offer is more attractive than ever”, says Yvonne, who works in the Institute for the Environment and Natural Resources at Zurich University of Applied Sciences. That’s why the couple still likes to use Mobility to transport anything that needs to be moved. In addition, they sometimes use Mobility vehicles for leisure activities: For example, they will occasionally take a relatively long trip by train and then use a Mobility vehicle to get to their final destination. “Mobility is also perfect for the final leg of a journey”, Yvonne explains.
Yvonne and Peter can well imagine getting rid of the car they still own and going back to Mobility exclusively after all of their four children have moved out of the house. You could say their motto in this regard is: “Once you start car sharing, you’ll never really stop”.
46, from Lupsingen, member of the Mobility cooperative since 1999
Luzius Gschwind liked the idea behind Mobility from the very beginning: “If you need a car, you can book a suitable Mobility vehicle in practically no time – and if you don’t need a car at any given time, you still don’t have to worry about vehicle maintenance and care.” Luzius, who is a landscape architect, became a member of the cooperative when he was still relatively young, shortly after completing his apprenticeship. One of the reasons he joined was because his parents’ car had an automatic transmission, so he used Mobility vehicles to practise for his driving test. “This way, I learned to drive different kinds of cars from the very beginning”, Luzius explains. His approach here paid off, as Luzius passed the driving test the very first time he took it.
Luzius repeatedly used Mobility in the years that followed – for example to transport his things back to Basel after completing his studies: “I cleared out my room in a shared flat, filled the Renault Trafic from Mobility up to the ceiling with stuff – and took off.” Luzius often used Mobility whenever he needed a commercial or utility vehicle. “It’s very practical that Mobility can offer the right vehicle for every requirement and situation”, he says.
After Luzius and his wife became parents, they decided not to get a second car. “We used to have a station in our village, and we appreciated that”, says Luzius. Today, there’s no longer a station in Lupsingen. Luzius is disappointed about that – and it’s also the reason why he now only uses Mobility on rare occasions. “Nevertheless, I remain a member as a matter of conviction”, he explains. “I think Mobility is a good thing and I wish the company continued success – not just in cities but in rural areas as well. However, the company will also have to keep continuously expanding its services in future in order to make that possible.”