A new service launched on World Environment Day could change the way we drive around the Byron Shire.
PopCar, a car sharing service committed to providing a more sustainable way for drivers to access cars when they need them, opened their car doors for business in Bryon Bay last Wednesday.
PopCar is currently operating in specific locations across Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and the launch in Byron Shire forms part of PopCar’s broader plans to expand the service across the country.
PopCar’s program is the first of its kind in the Northern Rivers and it is a joint project with the Byron Shire Council which will see PopCar provide 10 hybrid cars to the area for short-term use.
The initial 12-month share car pilot program with PopCar will enable Byron Shire residents and holidaymakers alike a new alternative to car ownership. People will be able access a car without having to actually own one
The service will also help reduce the number of cars on the road while solely offering hybrid cars with low emissions to encourage a more sustainable future. The partnership sees the council providing eight specific PopCar parking spaces in Byron Bay and two parking spaces in Mullumbimby to enable residents to pick up a car from a convenient location.
PopCar director Anthony Welsh says they are thrilled to be launching their car share service for the first time and exclusively to the Byron Shire. ‘The program will enable locals and visitors to the region to have an alternative, cost effective and convenient way to access some of the latest cars to suit any occasion.
Welsh says PopCar are focused on shifting Australians’ mindset about car ownership to encourage more people to realise the benefits of car sharing and how it helps takes the hassle and cost out of car ownership. ‘Car sharing is helping to get more cars off the road to both help the environment and reduce congestion to help the Byron town centre become more pedestrian-friendly.
‘Though this is a pilot program we have high hopes that the region will embrace this more sustainable transport option and we look forward to continuing to work with the Council to promote alternative and sustainable transport options.’
Mayor Simon Richardson says the pilot program will test the market and see if there is a long-term potential for a car sharing service in the Shire. ‘We know that Byron residents keenly support sustainability initiatives and that’s why we partnered with PopCar as they can offer hybrid cars to reduce congestion with lower emission cars.
‘There are many people in the community who may have a driver’s license but cannot afford a car or do not need one daily. With car sharing becoming a common service in capital cities in Australia, the Shire is proud to be adopting this concept for the first time.
‘The advantage of car sharing is that people can have access to cars for short periods of time which is ideal if they need to get to an appointment, nip to the shops or want to have the freedom to easily go on a day trip to somewhere outside of the local area.’
Any licensed driver over the age of 18 will be able to use the car share service operated by PopCar which will take care of all running costs of the cars including registration, fuel, insurance and maintenance, so members of PopCar can book the car for whenever they need it and only pay for time they use the car.
One-off joining fees start from $10 and monthly plans range from $0 to $19.90. Hourly usage rates start at $5.50 with a $0.40 per kilometre fee.
The cars are available to use from one hour to up to four days at a time. The cars are the Toyota Corolla Hybrid and PopCar is planning on expanding the fleet with Australia’s first Toyota SUV hybrids.
For more information visit the PopCar website.