In car rental, a station-based model refers to a business model where vehicles are located in a fixed rental location. This means that the customer picks up and returns the car to a predefined location. Usually the renter has two options. First, they can pick up and return the vehicle to the same location (e.g., an airport or a hotel). Second, they can pick up the vehicle from one location and return it to a different fixed location (e.g., picked up from a railway station and returned to an airport). Although this business model doesn’t require a complex tracking system, since the supplier knows exactly where their vehicles are, it does not provide flexibility for the renter (or for companies interested in car-sharing business). In addition, stationary vehicles can be expensive to operate. The supplier needs to build infrastructure, hire management staff and buy or rent parking lots.
In station-based car rental, customers have to sign paperwork on site. After paying for the rental they can drive the car wherever they wish to. The rental ends when the customer returns the car to the designated rental location and the lease is terminated.