Go get a car

Posted by Oliver Hogue on 01/09/2013

Congested traffic featuring motorists loudly honking their horns and breaking all manner of road rules, combined with mobile-phone-addicted-pedestrians stepping blindly out in front of you – the pleasure of driving in and around the city disappeared a long time ago.

Parking in the city is expensive as well. It often requires deep pockets to meet the average rate for using a multi-storey and can add as much as $100,00 dollars to the cost of buying a brand new apartment.

Councils and planning authorities are well aware of the many issues facing residents and commuters in the city. Levies to discourage car use were introduced as early as 1992 in Sydney. While bus and bicycle lanes, limits to the number of car spaces in new developments and congestion charges are among the more recent attempts to reduce traffic in cities. But the most recent of phenomena is the idea of car sharing.

We’ve all seen them. Parked in dedicated spots on the street and providing immediate access to a car without the hassle or expense of owning one. But did you know that many of these vehicles are now finding a home in the parking spaces of apartment blocks? And the concept is really simple – the committee or developer provides the car space and the car-sharing company provide the car.

Nicholas Johnson of Strata Title Management in Sydney recently helped the Committee of 1 Tewkesbury Avenue, an 80-unit scheme in Darlinghurst with 12 recently vacant parking spaces, enter in to one such agreement with car-sharing company GoGet.

“The Committee were previously renting out their spare spaces to a nearby school but they had no further need for them. I knew of the GoGet arrangement through my own membership and I got in touch with them,” Nicholas said.

“It turned out that GoGet were looking to rent more spaces in the area and were able to offer residents free membership as well. The Committee is now trialling a six-month arrangement and a mix of vehicles that will be shared by the building and the community. It’s great that the committee are gaining a regular income on the unused spaces again,” he said.

GoGet co-founder Bruce Jeffreys said, “Some owners corporations are naturally worried about the idea of non-residents from the community using a car-share vehicle from their car park. But once they understand we track all our vehicles and know who is using them they tend to relax.”

“We can supply a range of cars and it’s the strata management or committee who choose what they want. I think those who rent worry a bit less about car ownership these days but it also suits owner occupiers, helping them to eliminate the need for a second car or even the ownership of a car completely,” Bruce said.

“I can image car parking to be an ongoing issue for many committees and strata managers. For large parking lots you can easily reduce the demand on a scheme and possibly some of the issues. The convenience of a car share in your apartment block is just an extension of other shared services such as the gym or pool,” he said.

New developments are buying into the idea of car sharing programs too. And the Green Building Council of Australia even grant credit points if car share facilities are included.

Trio Apartments in Camperdown has 20 percent of households signed up to GoGet’s service and several

GoGet vehicles will feature at Australand’s Discovery Point development in Wolli Creek. 41 vehicles will also be stationed inside the Central Park development in Broadway when it is finished.

“Each GoGet spot in a new development can save about $30,000 per spot if construction of a basement car park is avoided,” Bruce said.

In Melbourne, the annual owners corporation fee at The Commons in Brunswick includes a GoGet membership for each apartment. While residents of the Claremont building in South Yarra share an energy-efficient electric car and a second petrol-driven vehicle with a network of neighbouring developments.

“It’s great that multiple developers and different buildings can come together and create a car sharing network that unites the community and the developments.  We believe this is what the future will look like,” Bruce said.

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