Sharing economy 分享型经济


Image caption Parking spaces can be hard to find

Vocabulary: making money 词汇: 赚钱

Do you have a spare room in your house? What about a driveway for your car? Both of these can help you make money. Many people who are feeling the pinch are taking advantage of what's been called the 'sharing economy'.

Perhaps the best-known example of a company in this field is Airbnb - an American web business which allows you to rent out your spare room to holidaymakers. It says it operates in 34,000 cities and it has 800,000 listings of rooms and apartments. They seem to have cornered the market!

A British company is doing something with parking spaces. JustPark's founder, Anthony Eskinazi, says: "When I had the original idea, I spotted a driveway close to a sports stadium. It would have been so convenient if I could have just parked in that driveway rather than in a commercial car park."

And he has a big clientele: around 20,000 people have advertised their spaces on the site, and he says around half a million drivers use it. There are other sites doing very similar things, like Uber and Lyft - these let drivers share their cars with other passengers.

Any driver knows how valuable a place to park is. A church near Kings Cross in central London has apparently made over £200,000 by renting out space in its yard to travellers!

But the sharing economy has its critics: the competitors of these new companies. People who run things like traditional B and Bs, commercial car parks and taxi services are afraid of ending up out of pocket.

And there is another issue: regulations for these new businesses are unclear. How will renting out your driveway affect your neighbour?

Because this is a new business world, those rules aren't there yet and many people are happy to share... as long as it pays!