Sharing a Naas car

Opinion

Paul O'Meara

Reporter:

Paul O'Meara

Email:

paul@leinsterleader.ie

Sharing a Naas car

File photo

Could this be the way of the future? It won’t replace the demand for car ownership, not for a while anyway.

But the concept of car sharing holds some appeal in urban areas and this applies to places like Naas and Newbridge, which are towns with a population of more than 20,000 each — and are set to grow and grow.

Rob Power, the newly elected mayor of the Naas Municipal District, wants to have the idea at least
explored.

And Kildare County Council is examining the feasibility of having a car sharing scheme in the Naas area.

It’s hoping to have discussions with a car sharing company with the aim of identifying the best parking location in the Naas area.

The setting up of any car sharing scheme will take time and it will be necessary, above all, to secure a piece of land which is located well enough to host a car sharing base.

A company known as GoCar is, to so speak, in the driving seat. Cllr Power says it is working with KCC.

If you want to use the scheme you join up and this allows you to rent a car or van any time and any day.

At the moment cars are parked all across the major cities of Dublin and Cork — and, sometime soon, possibly Naas.

The concept is aimed at the urban dweller, the one car family and small businesses. And it works when combined with other public transport options like buses, trains, trams and taxis.

It is estimated that more than half the population of Naas leave the town for Dublin every day and car sharing is ideal, they say, for getting you “that last mile that public transport can’t.”

The deal is that the car or van is left back by you to the base where you picked it up.

It costs €8 per hour or €60 a day, with the cost of insurance, fuel and tax
included.

Understandably enough, traffic fines, parking fees and toll fees are your responsibility, though parking in Dublin city is free. You can take your pet for the ride.

At a minimum, Mayor Power wants the system to go on trial in Naas.

The system is technology friendly.

Cars can be booked online or via an app for as little as an hour and unlocked with a with a phone or a GoCard; the keys are in the car.

It's ideal for people who only need occasional access to a car but don't want to own.

Or for families who need a second car sometimes.

Cllr Power pointed out that it reduces car dependency, congestion, noise and air pollution and frees up land that is traditionally used for car parking.

At the moment the service is provided at a number of Irish Rail stations.

Each shared car replaces approximately 15 private cars as well as increasing the use of public transport.

There is much that is good about the notion of car sharing. If a pilot scheme is launched by Kildare County Council and it shows it can work there is, after the convenience and the removal of stress associated with car ownership is factored in, hardly a downside to this concept.

It could also make us rethink about just how necessary it is own a car at all in the first place — especially in more urban areas where the facilities and infrastructure are more solid.