Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Happy New Year from Thailand

Greetings from Chiang Mai, Thailand. It's a long way to carsharing from here - Singapore is the closest place! Here I am getting ready to board public transportation - a local jitney.

Like many people, I've wondered whether there's a role for carsharing in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, India, Korea and China. I'm sure there is, but it would certainly be a different marketing challenge.

Cars are taxed at 100% here in Thailand and parking in the downtowns is crowded. Trucks and motorbikes are not taxed as heavily. Motor scooters are everywhere - probably 100:1 over bicycles. The ubiquitous Honda motor scooter costs start at about $700 - not out of the range for many and they appear to be the urban vehicle of choice for many. Cheaper Chinese knock-off motorscooters are selling well, in spite of their poor reputation.

But few people live downtown and cities have sprawled extensively, so it might be somewhat different from the "classic" carsharing in major cities.

Best wishes to you for 2006.