Collaborative Pioneer: An Inside Interview with GoCar Ireland’s Colm Brady

**** NO REPRODUCTION FEE *** DUBLIN : 31/07/2014 : Ireland?s only car sharing initiative, GoCar is this week celebrating its one year anniversary. To celebrate the anniversary, GoCar is offering to wave the ¤50 sign-up fee for the service for anyone who joins before midnight on August 1st as well as offering the first hour of use completely free of charge. For more visit http://www.gocar.ie/. Pictured celebrating its GoCar one year anniversary was Colm Brady, Managing Director of GoCar Ireland. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.MEDIA CONTACT : John Torsney, john.torsney@pembrokecomms.ie or Natalie Tennyson, Natalie.Tennyson@pembrokecomms.ie tel : 01649 6486Colm Brady, Managing Director, has helped grow GoCar Ireland to a 75 vehicle, 3,000 member operation over the past two years. He tells us how providing great customer experiences and word-of-mouth referrals have powered this growth.

The easiest way to explain GoCar is …

GoCar is an on-demand, pay-by-the-hour vehicle rental service that offers a real alternative to ownership.

How does it work?

GoCars are parked directly on the streets of Dublin and Cork – with a range of vehicles available from small city trip cars to larger transport vans. Easy to use, vehicles can be booked 24/7 online, over the phone or through the App, in advance or at a moment’s notice. After initial registration online or by phone, GoCar members use a personal GoCard smartcard to access and start the vehicles anytime – there is no need to meet someone or pick up a key somewhere beforehand. When the trip is finished, drivers simply return the car to the GoBase that they started from and lock the vehicle with their GoCard. An invoice is sent at the end of each month, which is processed according to the information provided at the time of registration. The average GoCar hire is for 3 hours, travelling 30 kilometers and costing €29.

What about insurance and gas?

Comprehensive insurance is included in every use and a fuel card for re-fueling is included in every GoCar. Drivers simply use the card when re-fueling and these fuel charges, along with any road tolls, carry over to their monthly invoice.

How long did it take to build GoCar Ireland?

Initially launched in Cork, Ireland in 2008 with three cars, GoCar really started scaling in 2012 when the owners of EuropCar Ireland bought GoCar. They could be considered “futurists” – looking beyond renting cars through the same business model that they have been using for the past 10 years, to expand to new services like GoCar. The owners of Europcar Ireland created a modern one-stop-shop for mobility and provided GoCar with financing, access to €3M worth of fleet and shared synergies, like a call center and fleet managers, to ensure GoCar’s ability to provide a consistently great customer experience.

What were key growth milestones?

A key growth milestone came in 2013 when Dublin City Council granted GoCar a license to operate on-street from their 30,000 pay-and-display parking spaces. This license enabled GoCar to initially place 50 vehicles in 31 pay-and-display locations that were in highly visible and convenient locations. Previously GoCar had to negotiate and pay premium amounts for private spaces that were not so readily accessible to members. Additionally, Irish rail launched a partnership with GoCar in 2014 to make cars available at 14 stations to give new options to rail customers for onward travel.

  How have Irish consumers responded to the business?

Currently at 3,000 members, GoCar’s customer base is continually growing. Word-of-mouth recommendations, along with social media engagement (10,400 Facebook followers), are our best advertising. We also follow-up by email or phone once a customer has made their first trip, to help us make sure that the entire GoCar team fully understands what is needed to deliver a great customer experience.

We also spend a lot of time creating awareness and educating the public on what Car Sharing is – a form of short-term car rental, with vehicles parked less than a 10 minute walk from someone’s home or work. This differs from lift-sharing or car-pooling, which are forms of sharing a journey.

How easy/difficult has it been to change people’s mindset to adopt CarSharing?

A large majority of our customers have used a Car Sharing service already in Europe or elsewhere in the world. They come to Dublin and Cork and seek us out. Others find out about GoCar from friends or family and then give CoGar a try. Many people think that GoCar is all about electric cars, and while all our vehicles are low CO2 emission vehicles, we don’t have any electric cars presently.

A statistic that surprises people about GoCar Ireland is:

Twenty-eight percent of GoCar’s members still own a car, and of those, 6% are planning on selling their car. More than half (54%) previously owned a car. The reason most often cited for using GoCar is convenience (90%), followed by cost (61%). We see there is a definite shift beginning away from car ownership, with a segment of people looking for alternative forms of transport. People using Car Sharing clubs like GoCar have been shown to cycle (19.3%) and walk (17.9%) more than non-car club members (report by Cambio Carsharing).

What is needed to keep GoCar growing?

It is important to gain Government support in promoting Car Sharing and to help businesses in Ireland adopt smarter travel options, including Car Sharing. Presently leisure (67%) outweighs business (6%) in reasons of why a member uses GoCar vehicles. There is definite scope to change this. Awareness must be generated around how Car Sharing offers a real alternative to vehicle ownership, while also reducing use dependence on fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases. We are currently working with Dublin City Council and Irish rail to help integrate GoCar into the smarter travel network. We feel that Ireland, as a key destination for Innovation and IT, should have a transport infrastructure that includes Car Sharing.

GoCar Ireland Logo

 

 

 

 

GoCar Facts:

  • GoCar is currently the only Car Sharing company in Ireland, it is Irish owned and financed.
  • While the State have funded Car Sharing companies in other countries,GoCar is looking to the Government solely for support to promote and integrate car sharing.
  • 3,000 signed up GoCar members have 24/7 access to 75 low CO2 emission vehicles across Dublin (population 528,000) and Cork (population 119,000).
  • Members register online and receive their GoCard smartcard within 24 hours.
  • The GoCar team presently has 6 full-time staff members.

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