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Council drives new car share scheme in Wellington

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Several more central city car parking spaces have been set aside for car share vehicles as part of a trial designed to give Wellingtonians more transport choice and to benefit the planet - and the wallet.

With a growing population, more inner-city living, fewer people choosing to own cars, and the need to address traffic congestion and environmental issues, Wellington City Council is looking at a range of ways to reduce pressure on the transport network, including encouraging more car sharing.

The trial, which starts today and is planned to continue until mid-2016, will see several central city car parks made available to approved car share operators at no charge.

Deputy Mayor Justin Lester says car share schemes are a good option for people who don’t want to own a car but occasionally need one, and provide a range of environmental and personal benefits.

"Car share operations are on a modest scale in Wellington but experience elsewhere like in the UK, United States, and Australia shows they can quickly become popular with the right exposure and a change in culture.

"Research has also shown that every car share vehicle removes 10 cars off the road, as people are more inclined to plan their trip carefully or share the car when they’re paying per hour," adds the Deputy Mayor.

Councillor Andy Foster, Chair of the Transport and Urban Development Committee, hopes to replicate the success of the scheme overseas.

"The trial is a way of providing greater visibility to car share schemes than has been the case to date, and we want to see how residents and businesses take up car share.

"For many people and businesses who only need access to a vehicle periodically this could prove very attractive, and significantly reduce the cost of owning, operating and parking private vehicles that they only use infrequently.

"In other cities like downtown Sydney, car share schemes are proving popular. We think this could be especially useful in our central city where car parking costs are very high - for example, the cost of providing a single car park in a building can easily run to more than $60,000," says Cr Foster.

"The trial will be monitored. It will be especially interesting to see how different operators progress, and we also plan to consult on a draft car share policy early in the new year."

The three car share organisations involved in the scheme are Cityhop, Roam, and YourDrive.

The car share trial locations are:

- Corner of Victoria and Willeston Street

- Wakefield Street in front of Felix Café

- Inglewood Place opposite the entrance to Four Kings bar

Car share schemes have become popular in many cities around the world and there is growing interest in them here. Car share organisations provide cars in various locations. The cars are either owned or leased by the car share provider, or by members, who book them through websites or phone and pay by the hour.

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