Car-sharing platform GoCar, which a large Irish car-renting group invested in earlier this month, is planning to have 300 cars on the roads by the end of 2013 for people to rent and drive, in a move that’s similar to the Dublin bike scheme.
The service was first set up in 2008 in Cork and has been operating in Dublin City since 2010.
According to managing director Colm Brady, GoCar has 16 cars and it’s planning to have 50 cars on the road by the end of the summer. The overarching aim, however, is to have 300 cars available for people to rent and drive by the end of 2013 and he says the car-rental group that has invested in GoCar will be injecting €3.2m into the brand in order to get these cars on the roads.
Alternative to owning a car
He said the GoCar initiative is aiming to give people more alternatives, especially when they don’t own a car or need access to a second car. From a corporate perspective, Brady said companies are interested in the service, especially as car spaces are in limited supply in many places.
He said the service would be handy for employees who take public transport to work, but who might need a car from time to time at work to go to a meeting.
Another aim of the service is to reduce traffic congestion in cities and to make people think about taking other forms of transport.
Just yesterday, GoCar announced it has new car spaces, which it is calling GoBases, in both Dublin and Cork. The new spaces will include one in Drury Street car park and one in Schoolhouse Lane car park in Dublin City, as well as a space in Kent Station in Cork City.
GoCar will also be announcing a further five Dublin GoBases opening over the coming weeks.
These will include one in Ballymun, with the support of Ballymun Regeneration, and new spaces in Smithfield and Ranelagh.
Brady said that GoCar will also now have a base in Eastpoint office park in the Dublin Docklands, which is home to about 5,000 workers.
He said Eastpoint will be monitoring how many cars are taken off the road with the new service.
GoCar is also working with the Green Way initiative to explore the potential for putting in GoCar bases in key Green Way facilities, such as at Dublin Airport, Dublin City University and DIT Grangegorman.
The Green Way itself is aiming to create a green economic corridor and a clean-tech cluster in Dublin. Back in March, the Green Way signed a clean-tech agreement with the Environmental Business Cluster (EBC) in San Jose, California.
In terms of reducing traffic congestion, Brady said that for every GoCar the aim is to take 10-15 cars off the road.
He said GoCar is also in talks with ESB ecars and other electric-vehicle suppliers in Ireland, with a view to potentially introducing electric car models to the fleet in the future.
As for the GoCars, Brady said people need to have a full, clean driving licence. Anyone who signs up to the service will get a GoCard. When they decide to rent out a car they pre-book the car on the GoCar website and then RFID technology will open the car when they put their GoCard up against the driver’s window.
"The smart thing is that the key is inside the car, in the glove compartment," said Brady. And if the person does not use the right password, the car will be immobilised.
As for the cost to use the car-rental service, Brady said people pay €50 to register for the service. They can then chose a €5, €10 or €15 monthly plan, depending on how much GoCar renting they are planning to carry out in a particular month. Each price plan has a different rental fee per hour (for instance the €15 plan means you pay €4.75 per hour) with the same charge for petrol for each price plan (45 cent per hour).