Carshare services are an alternative solution that requires Council support and transport planning consultation for implementation across the growing number of precincts they service.
Ratio spoke with Darcy Lechte, Carshare Strategic Planner at GoGet Carshare, to learn about the uptake of GoGet’s services in Victoria, trends driving the demand for carshare services and the benefits of choosing a sharable vehicle service.
What is GoGet Carshare?
GoGet is Australia’s first and largest professional round trip carshare operator. Members pay an hourly rate (covering the cost of maintenance, registration, fuel, cleaning etc) to use the nearest available carshare vehicle. GoGet is currently operational in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Which areas in Victoria does GoGet currently service?
GoGet services more than 90 suburbs in Melbourne, spanning 16 local government areas, from Maidstone in the west, Dandenong in the southeast and Glenroy in the north.
What areas is GoGet hoping to service?
GoGet’s current focus is intensifying the network in key inner and middle-ring metropolitan areas to meet the growing demand as population density increases. These areas include:
- Stonnington: South Yarra, Prahran, Windsor etc. Growth in these areas is soon to be accelerated by Stonnington’s new carshare policy.
- Whitehorse: demand is strong, particularly around Box Hill.
- Glen Eira: they are keen and strong advocates for carshare growth.
- Bayside, Manningham and Hobsons Bay all on the radar for expansion.
How much support do Councils give carshare platforms?
The majority of councils are very supportive because they understand the multiple benefits carshare brings to the local community, for members and non-members alike.
However, it can be difficult, and take time, for some local governments to implement parking solutions outside of the status quo. This is why it’s important to inform key stakeholders of the benefits of carsharing; that carshare is a proven solution to parking pressure and local congestion as well as a critical transport mode for residents that also provides significant environmental benefits.
In addition, this highlights the opportunity of off-street integrations in new residential developments to support existing and future demand in Council growth zones. GoGet has over 10 years’ experience of delivering and maintaining successful integrations, from 1 to 60 vehicles, that create an additional amenity for onsite residents and the local community.
Have you noticed a trend in areas that are keen to take-up carshare?
Generally, two key characteristics that drive demand for carshare:
- Medium to high residential density.
- Strong public transport connectivity.
Strong demand for carshare is evident across metropolitan Melbourne, with approximately 95% of our locations within the Principal Public Transport Network.
There is strong trend of transit-oriented developments that are reshaping their parking provision mix in favour of carshare. This allows future residents to sell their current car or forgo purchasing one when they move into these new developments. The net space saving from moving to carshare provision allows existing buildings to deliver additional benefits and amenities to residents.
We have also seen a strong trend in environmentally conscious developers using carshare to reduce parking, and thus embedded carbon, as well as ongoing emissions generated over the building’s lifespan.
Finally, carshare, and its ability to reduce required parking, has enabled developments that would not be economically feasible with the standard required parking.
How does carshare benefit the areas it services?
- Less on-site parking demand: 1 carshare vehicle has sufficient service provision for 10-20 units without parking spaces (replacement ratio can vary depending on the density of the local network and public transport access).
- More affordable: a parking space adds at least $50k-$100k to the cost of purchasing a new dwelling.
- Stimulates local economy: carshare members typically live and spend locally due to understanding the cost of a vehicle trip.
- Environmental benefits: For every GoGet there are 10 members who have not purchased a car and members typically drive less. In addition, when less parking spaces are built there is less embedded carbon in a building.
Let’s talk about Victoria’s take-up of carshare services. Are we ahead of curve nationwide? How do we stand globally?
NSW and VIC are seen as leaders in carshare globally and we wouldn’t be where we are today without industry and government pulling together. It is critical this commitment and collaboration accelerates in the wake of the pandemic and the face of climate change…the demand for carshare is rapidly growing from those who require a mode of lower cost, flexible transport or who want to make a relatively easy, positive environmental impact, or both!
Victoria’s on-street network is growing rapidly to meet this demand. The off-street network (i.e., in new developments) is lagging behind NSW by a considerable amount. For example, GoGet’s network has 7 times more vehicles in developments in NSW than in VIC.
From a Global standpoint, outside of the work being done here in Australia, the city of Ghent, Belgium (winner of the 2020 Carshare City Award) is leading the way with one of the most progressive carshare policies worldwide:
- A Dedicated Carshare Action Plan with clear metrics. One of them is a target of at least 10% of the population becoming carshare members.
- Enabled growth with demand and has no vehicle caps for any of the three carshare operators.
- To encourage greater uptake of more sustainable transport modes, Ghent opted not to charge for carsharing parking permits.
- Co-location of carshare vehicles at mobility hubs; think carshare at train stations
- Council lead by example by ensuring staff utilise carshare vehicles for work related travel, reducing tax payor costs and council environmental footprint.
- The city actively promotes the benefits of carsharing to the community as part of a large-scale communication campaign
- Comprehensive Parking Policy Framework, including special permits for carshare vehicles giving carshare members extra benefits compared to private car owners
In the developments space, Vancouver has formalised carshare requirements in residential buildings and ensures parking maximums are adhered to and carshare services are fully operational in-line with building development. They are strong supporters of the embedded carbon reduction carshare delivers and the clear amenity for residents and the community. This is similar to the planning guidance in NSW. It’s the area where VIC is most behind and so presents a great opportunity.
Do you have any predictions about how carshare will look in the future?
Carsharing is a key element of future transport – one that can be implemented today. Carsharing is part of our toolkit to solve climate change, congestion, and housing affordability challenges in our growing cities. This will enable us to keep Australian cities as the most liveable cities in the world. Global targets are being set for new communities to aim for 80% non-car journeys.
Carshare is the ideal solution for that last 20% when only a car trip will suffice. On-site carshare helps residents make sustainable transport choices and embrace car-free lifestyles with all the environmental and financial benefits that come with it.
GoGet has spent the last decade building its expertise in successful on-site carshare delivery and operation. We are now striving to engrain carsharing service provision into the planning framework much the same as onsite bicycle parking provision. This is why it’s important to start planning for on-site carshare from the outset ‒ so that each project can maximise the environmental, time, space and money savings of reduced parking provision.