Feature

Car sharing

Green Lifestyle magazine

Spotted in an increasing number of Australian cities, car share schemes are a growing force, bringing convenience to car-less urban dwellers. Emma Bowen gives them a test drive.

car-share

The car parked in one of the city’s growing car share spots - our advice is to check for any damage from previous drivers before you take off.

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With buses, trains and so much to do in such close walking distance it can be pretty darn easy to get by in the city without a car. The train to work, a bike ride to meet up with friends, and a short walk to get groceries... But once in a while, those times you need a car can creep into your plans and make them a little complicated. Such as heading a couple of hours out of the city to visit the folks, with enough home-grown seedlings in tow to make a train trip a touch tricky. And so began my initiation into the world of car sharing.

There’s a few of companies around Sydney and Melbourne now and spreading steadily across the country, including GreenShareCar and GoGet, with their cars parked all over the city – both of which tend to use suitably small low-emission cars as their fleet. I signed myself up to GreenShareCar; with my need for a car a pretty sporadic one, a casual membership was just the ticket with no monthly minimums.
Swiping your membership card will unlock the car.

My membership card was posted out to me (in the nick of time given I’d left joining to the last minute!) and I booked myself in to pick up one of the cars in a suburb on my way home from work for two days (at $79 per day). Petrol is included in the cost of every trip, along with 100 km of driving per day. Above that, every kilometre costs 35 cents.

Armed with my little piece of membership plastic, I found my car waiting patiently on the street for me. With just a swipe of my card on the sensor on the windscreen (the future’s here!) the doors unlocked and I was in; the ignition key waiting under the dash of the driver’s seat. And just like that I was off.

The smooth little car had me zipping out of the city and onto the freeway in no time, and the full tank of petrol from the polite person before me (the user agreement kindly requests to never leave it with less than half a tank) meant not having to stop at all. It wasn’t until my return journey that I needed to stop halfway up the highway to refuel. The fleet fuel card in the car makes it easy – however a small word of advice to be sure you stop somewhere that accepts it, as the solitary station in the middle of the freeway I had no option but to use did not, requiring me to pay the $41 for fuel, to be reimbursed later minus a $25 admin fee. Still, for all those places that do take it, a very simple little process indeed.

Returning the car I was sure to leave it nice and tidy as all good humans do, and in good faith that I’d be back again to take it for a spin when the time and need arose again.