Now in its sixth month, a car-sharing experiment run by the Rome city council is slowly but surely gathering steam. Some 200 registered car sharers, of whom about half are frequent users, in Romes third municipio (borough), have been taking part in a trial that allows them to park for free in the citys restricted striscia blu (blue) parking zones if they share a vehicle provided by the schemes organisers with fellow commuters. Despite the seemingly low numbers, the pilot scheme has been judged a success, confirming the authorities long-term plans to make car sharing part of its programme to reduce traffic congestion. According to the city council and ATAC, the city transport agency, each driver cuts his or her own pollution by 30 to 50 per cent by switching to car sharing.

There are already plans to double the number of vehicles available through the scheme from five to 10 with a further rise to 20 within the next year. Despite the authorities enthusiasm for car sharing, many people remain dissuaded by the 100 registration fee as well as hourly charges ranging from 0.90 to 2.40 and distance charges from 0.20 to 0.40 per kilometre.