The anxiety of using public transport as the coronavirus continues to bubble up in urban communities around the country was one of the factors in a new, Hertz-backed car-sharing operation starting up in Canberra.
Hertz Asia-Pacific vice-president Eoin MacNeill said the company's car-sharing business Flexicar had increased in Sydney and Melbourne during Covid at a time when its rental core business had taken a financial hit, which suggested it was worthwhile business strategy to establish a foothold in the ACT.
"We're seeing that [car share] is not as disrupted as our core rental business, hence it is definitely something we need to watch," He said.
"It [the trend] won't last forever but it's a good alternative to public transport while that anxiety is around."
Flexicar has arrived in the territory just a few months after another car-share operation, GoGet, folded its operations due to high overheads and low returns.
Where Flexicar's business model varies from others is that it has partnered with the ANU, and will use dedicated campus parking, while offering cut-price deals during the start-up period.
Although international students are still largely locked out of returning to study at Australian universities for some time to come, the company still believes its business model will succeed.
"We did consider that [the lack of international students] but I think the domestic student market in Canberra has quite a lot of interstate students so we took the view that they'll adopt Flexicar," he said.
"It's also open to the public so it's not just limited to the ANU.
"We've found success in launching the brand at other universities [interstate] in the past so when the internationals come back - whenever that is - we'll be well set up and able to facilitate their use of the car-sharing business."
The company will initially place 20 cars on its Canberra fleet with a large percentage of hybrid vehicles, also based on the acceptance of those types of vehicles in other interstate markets.
It's a plan-based subscription service where you can book a car for an hour or up to five days.
After booking, drivers receive a six-digit entry code 15 minutes before the booking start-time. The pin code is entered onto the key pad on the windscreen and a green pulse unlocks the car. The keys stay locked in the car when you leave and the code re-locks the car at the end of the booking.
Every user has to leave at least a quarter of tank of fuel.
There are plans starting with the annual fee returned as a driving credit and charges the car out at $8.50 an hour.
GoGet recently relinquished its permits for dedicated parking spaces on campus, at London Circuit, Russell, and Dickson so Flexicar will be looking at regaining some of those places.
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