A new car sharing service has been launched in Westport and Castlebar towns and plans are under way to roll out the operation to other towns across the county.
GoCar, in partnership with Irish Rail, Mayo County Council and Westport Smarter Travel has launched its car sharing service in Co. Mayo with the first GoCar base situated at Westport and Castlebar train stations and in both town centres.
The company says the move comes in response to the success of the car sharing initiative in Dublin and Cork, which has seen increased demand from local residents and businesses for a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to car ownership.
Mayo residents can book GoCar vehicles online or via the app for as little as an hour at a time.
The pilot scheme has been welcomed by Mr. Tom Gilligan, Director of Services who thanked the Council management for taking this initiative. "Cars are one of our major polluters and GoCar reduces car dependency, congestion, noise and air pollution. GoCar is a car sharing initiative, anyone with a current drivers licence can register and then use the cars on a pay-per-trip basis 24/7, 365 days a year which allows users the freedom to access a vehicle where and when they need it," he said.
"The success of the pilot will be measured on the popularity of the service judged by how many people are using it. The target with GoCar is to remove 10-15 cars private cars off the road for each GoCar and to do this they hope to see 25-30+ people using the car regularly, plus others using it sporadically. With this type of usage, GoCar would deem the pilot viable and may even take the opportunity to expand the service."
The car is then unlocked using either a GoCard or a phone with the GoCar app with the keys located inside the vehicle.
Car sharing rates start from €8 per hour, with 50km of driving included on each trip and users benefit from no fuel, insurance or city parking charges. Since it was launched in 2008, over 11,000 drivers have signed up to GoCar, and it now offers over 240 vehicles across 170 locations.
Go Car says that with pay-as-you-go pricing and no subscription charges, car sharing is ideal for people who need occasional access to a car but don't necessarily want to own one - it is also an effective transport option for families who require a second car from time to time.
Car sharing reduces car dependency, congestion, noise and air pollution, and frees up land traditionally used for parking spaces. GoCar is working with Mayo County Council to further extend its bases across the county, offering increased access for residents and businesses to car sharing. The company has Mayo GoCar bases in place to coincide with European Mobility Week which takes place each September, during which the EU is encouraging local authorities to launch and promote permanent measures to enable bike and car sharing.
'With GoCar planning to double the number of vehicles available in Ireland this year, we are calling on Co. Mayo residents to let us know where exactly they would like to see car sharing spaces so we can make car sharing accessible to as many people as possible,' said GoCar Managing Director Colm Brady. For anyone who is interested in requesting a GoCar base near their workplace or home, they can visit GoCar.ie/Locations.