GoCar on the road to revolutionising how we travel around our city
DUBLIN'S latest transport revolution is under way.
GoCars are now dotted around the city at onstreet locations, providing people with a new way of getting around.
It is hoped the car club service – allowing subscribers to hire a vehicle, usually for short trips – will eventually have the same effect on travel habits as Dublinbikes, leading to a drop in private car ownership and less traffic congestion.
For the moment, Dubliners have the choice of 50 vehicles at 31 pay-and-display parking locations, including Barrow Street, Stoneybatter, Arran Quay, the Docklands, Drumcondra, Rathgar, IFSC, Clontarf and Donnybrook.
Dublin City Council had to draw up new byelaws allowing for public parking spaces to act as car club stations.
The Herald was one of the first to use the new system.
It's easy to see the attraction. After booking a car online, all you have to do is swipe your membership card on the windscreen and away you go.
We drove a low-emission 131 Ford Focus, which the company has branded its GoTripper.
After hopping in, a device in the glove box gives instructions on how to get going and an in-car phone provides direct access to a help centre.
The Herald took the GoTripper down Talbot Street, turning left on to Gardiner Street and around by Bus Aras before returning to Talbot Street and parking free on Foley Street, behind Independent House.
Licensed car club vehicles can now be parked free at any one of the council's 30,000 pay-and-display locations.
If users stray into another local authority area, they will have to pay for parking.
The company's managing director, Colm Brady, was this week presented with the city's first onstreet car club licence by the Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn.
While the council loses revenue from parking fees, it earns money from issuing three-year permits at €1,265 per vehicle.
"It will operate in a very similar manner to Dublinbikes and should prove to be just as successful. GoCar is a pioneering company and it's great to see them getting the first licence for DublinCars," Dublin Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy said.
"It's not for everyone, but it will be of particular benefit to people who need to use a car but can't afford one, people who only use a car occasionally, and families who might need access to a second car from time to time but who don't want to take on the additional cost."
The GoTripper is aimed at people who may wish to go on longer journeys, rather than a quick hop around town in a smaller GoCity car such as a Fiesta or Hyundai i10.
"GoCar is for regular short trips. All you have to do is sign up online, we'll post out your GoCard and then book a car online, over the phone or on our app, walk up to the car and hold the card over the windscreen," GoCar's Niall Carson said.
They're available all day, every day for the whole year.
Road tax, insurance and maintenance are included in the price.
For €100 a year, paid in monthly instalments, subscribers can have a zero excess, meaning they're insured for all damage.
With the byelaws now introduced, new operators are expected to enter the market.
The council believes a single car club vehicle could replace 15 privately owned cars accessing the city centre.
HOW IT WORKS
GoCar is a members' only car-sharing service.
It allows subscribers to rent cars and vans by the hour.
The vehicles are located at convenient locations around Dublin and Cork.
GoCar is charged by the hour and kilometre.
The hourly rate between 8am and 8pm is €4.99, and it is €2.49 between 8pm and 8am.
GoCar charges 45c per kilometre and €40 for a 24-hour reservation.
There is a one-off joining fee of €50, which includes €15 credit and there is a monthly admin fee of €5.
GoCar insures the vehicles, pays the road tax and insurance, and covers all fuel costs.
You access the vehicle with a swipe card and enter a pin number (which you receive by text) to release the keys and you're off.
The company has more than 700 members, 50 vehicles in Dublin and 44 bases (including off-street locations).
For further details and information, check out www.gocar.ie