GoCar to emulate bike-share scheme with €3m investment
GOCAR, the Irish car-share company, is to spend €3m to provide 200 temporary-use vehicles all over the capital in a plan to do for cars what Dublin Bikes has done for cycling.
The company -- which was founded in 2008 and has until now run just 10 vehicles in Dublin and four in Cork -- has just been taken over by Irish Car Rentals, which has taken an 80pc majority stake of the company with the result that buying power has been increased and finances for expansion raised.
The deal includes plans to access new public "base" sites, which the local authorities will be making available for car pool and car-share schemes under the Road Traffic Act.
Under the plan, GoCar cars and vans will be available in most parts of the capital to pick up and return to their sites whenever scheme members wish to avail of them.
The car-share scheme will cater for those who don't want the expense of owning or leasing a car, but have occasional vehicle needs.
"Our average member accesses a vehicle about three times a month," says GoCar chief Marc Rafferty. Instead of buying a car, lots of people can pick up one in the short-term only when they need one. On average, it works out at €5.50 per hour and 40c per kilometre, as we look after the petrol."
In other cities like Amsterdam, London and Berlin, similar schemes have proven a huge success and are considered an integral part of public transport policy.
Realising the threat to their hire operations, big international car hire companies like Hertz have got into car share to protect their existing businesses and run with the concept, which is seen as being beneficial to the environment.
"We aim to do for car share what Dublin Bikes has done for cycling. The plan is to further develop a line in vans for commercial operators and to eventually provide fully electric vehicles for one in 10 sites.
"We already use low carbon emission vehicles."
GoCar began in Cork in 2008, founded by the city council as part of the EU-wide MOMO scheme.
Mr Rafferty, along with fellow entrepreneur Mike Newham, then acquired the rights to take the scheme to Dublin on a commercial basis, but ran into a series of obstacles including lack of purchasing power for vehicles and lack of bank finance.
"We applied for a bank loan of €250,000 to develop the business. The application took an age to be processed and in the end they gave us €30,000," said Mr Rafferty. Irish Car Rentals Ltd is one of Ireland's largest car rental groups comprising Eurocar Ireland, National Alamo, Dollar and Thrifty.