Car-sharing firm Go Get says it aims to have a car within 250 metres of where people live, with convenience the key to making the system work.
Each car in Go Get's 2000-strong fleet is used by an average of 22 people, a spokesman said this week, responding to news that the ACT government will call tenders for car sharing in Canberra in the first quarter of 2016.
Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury has not given details of the tender but said the government's only contribution was expected to be parking spaces for the car-sharing fleet.
Go Get, whose head of locations Chris Vanneste welcomed Canberra's interest in car sharing this week, is one of the better known car-sharing firms in Australia, having started among neighbours in Newton in 2003, and since grown to a fleet of more than 2000 cars in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.
A spokesman said density and vehicle saturation were important to car sharing, to ensure that cars were available near enough to people's homes. Use dropped off with less convenience – having to walk further or less availability of cars.
Go Get is already in Canberra at Ikea, where it has vans and a car for hire.
To use shared cars, you need to first sign up to a company such as Go Get, which charges a membership fee and an hourly rate ($49 a year and $10.35 an hour, or $30 a month and $6.35 an hour), plus 40 cents a kilometre. You book a car online or through an app and then use a swipe card to activate it when you pick up the car. Fines apply for returning the car late. People are also required to return cars clean and with more than a quarter of a tank of fuel (and can use the Go Get fuel card to fill the tank).
Canberra group See Change has been urging the government to move on car sharing, which was part of the Greens power-sharing arrangement with Labor after the 2012 election.
Go Get says it costs about $650 a month to own and run a comparable car, whereas a "moderate usage" Go Get member spends less than $200.
See Change says car use is declining in other cities since about 2007, but is still on the rise in Canberra, with car driving rates now at record levels. Experience elsewhere showed that each car-sharing vehicle could take between seven and 20 private cars off the road. Car sharing allowed people to make decisions based on the "true costs" of owning and using a car, and dramatically reduced car use, See Change said.
In a proposal in September, the group urged the government to not only allocate parking spaces, but also replace part of the government fleet with car sharing.
In Sydney, Hertz 24/7 and Green Share Car also operate and Melbourne has Flexicar.
The NSW government announced a car-sharing trial to replace part of the government-owned fleet late in 2014.