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Council commends car share schemes

In the 1990s, we were all told to car pool. Now the Sydney City Council is telling us to share reports Ellice Mol in the December 2007 edition of the South Sydney Herald.

Car sharing companies, such as GoGet or Flexicar offer members a range of cars parked around their area which they book online and then use for anywhere from an hour to a few days. Members pay a monthly fee of between $10 and $30 per month, depending on their own plan and company, and then a small rate based on the time or distance they use the car for. The car sharing company pays for the registration, cleaning, mechanical and petrol costs. “It provides an incentive to reduce car use and provides efficient, cost effective means of travel for people who wish to take this option”, according to Chair of the Sydney City Council Traffic Committee, John McInerney.

The Council has recently approved a 12-month trial of dedicated parking spaces for car share vehicles. The trial will see a total of up to 12 on-street spots and 10 off-street spots around Sydney City, with the possibility of more to follow. The Council has also recommended allowing members to use residential parking permits for their car share vehicles.

Similar schemes operating in Australia and overseas have been shown to increase public transport use and reduce demands on limited on-street car parking spots. It also has a positive effect on traffic congestion, which in a city where congestion results in $4 billion in lost productivity every year, can only be a good thing.

Car sharing schemes have also resulted in a reduction of household travel costs for members, and according to McInerney, they “overcome the shortage of public transport on the weekend”. Essentially, they provide more flexibility for drivers whilst also being environmentally friendly.

Deputy Lord Mayor Tony Pooley knows a number of friends who use the system, and they’re all happy with the results. He says GoGet’s figures show that these schemes are becoming more attractive to a wider group of people and this council recommendation

should assist that as “it will make more cars accessible to more people”. Car sharing companies are still relatively new in the Australian market, and whilst many are enthusiastic about the project, some drivers who already own vehicles are hesitant about switching across. Pooley says that “the benefits of car sharing are significant [as] many inner city people only use cars for short trips or on an irregular basis. The potential that car share has is that it can take ten cars off the road for each car share car, and that’s a great benefit”

Source: South Sydney Herald December 2007