Cost-cutting occasional car
Helen Skelton doesn’t worry about soaring petrol prices.
The inner-city resident hasn’t owned a car for eight years and has no plans to buy one.
But she has signed up to Cityhop, a car share scheme running in Auckland city for the past eight months.
“We thought about getting a car but there’s the extra cost of parking and that sort of thing,” she says.
“But it’s good to be able to grab a car whenever you want to.”
Ms Skelton and her partner hire a car two or three times a week, mostly for short trips.
“That’s a cost of about $60 a week, but if we owned a car we’d be paying $50 a week just for parking.”
Registered members can book one of Cityhop’s 20 cars for $12 an hour, including petrol, and pick them up at city parking buildings.
Since launching last year Cityhop has recruited 150 members and expanded its fleet from five to 20.
Founder Victoria Carter says members generally drive half as much as when they owned a car.
“We know from talking to our members that once they join Cityhop they start to think about what is the most efficient means of transport for their task – walking, biking, public transport, taxi or car share,” she says.
The company is phasing in new Mitsubishi i-cars, featuring a motorbike-sized motor which uses only about five litres of petrol per 100km.
A Cityhop car is based at Auckland Regional Council’s Pitt St offices as part of a trial.
A spokeswoman says they support the concept, but there hasn’t been a rush on the car, possibly because staff are already in the habit of using public transport and walking.
A cycle hire company, GoodGear Bikes, is also reporting a strong uptake from city residents.
The company has been running for three months, offering bikes for short-term hire at 11 locations in the central city.
Founder Julian Hull says he’s been surprised at the use by residents.
“I had originally aimed at tourists and while they have been using it, they haven’t been using it at the rate that city dwellers have.
“And those are the people who will be repeat customers.”
For details on Cityhop see www.cityhop.co.nz. For GoodGear Bikes see www. goodgear.co.nz.
Easy ride: Inner-city resident Helen Skelton drives a Cityhop Mitsubishi i-car.