Expansion plans ahead for city car-sharing drive

A YEAR on, up to 100 people are signed up as authorised drivers with Cork city’s first car-sharing scheme – and it looks like the project is going to be extended to Dublin.

Mendes GoCar was established in Cork a year ago. Aimed at urban residents who can use public transport but want the option of occasionally using a car, it has also enjoyed success among the business community who see it as a way of reducing employee travel costs.

According to Mendes GoCar chief executive Graham Lightfoot, the concept has caught on “slowly but surely” but native Corkonians appear to still be sceptical.

“We have very few native Corkonians. We have customers from everywhere else in Ireland and Europe and the wider world but the natives aren’t signing up as quickly,” he smiled.

Mr Lightfoot said the cars are mostly used for local trips but they are taking on forays into the county. Dublin-based companies who regularly travel to Cork have also signed up, using the cars rather than taxis. City council employees are also using the service, particularly planners and inspectors while visiting sites.

Car-sharing customers sign up online to receive a smartcard and a set of customer and PIN numbers. Cars are then booked online or by phone and picked up at one of four stations around Cork, at City Hall, UCC, Kent Station and Wandesford Quay. Using the smartcard and the PIN number, the customer then unlocks the car and drives it away.

The scheme has operated successfully in Switzerland and Germany as well as Britain and the US for many years.

Registration for private individual customers of GoCar costs about €50 while businesses pay around €100. There is a returnable deposit of €200 and a monthly fee of €3 per customer. Pay as you go charges, of around €5 per hour, include fuel and maintenance costs.

The fleet includes Ford Fiestas, a Ford Focus and a Ford Transit Connect van.

Mendes Go Car is running the scheme for Cork City Council.


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