With Wellington’s growing population, more inner-city living, fewer people choosing to own cars, and the need to address traffic congestion and environmental issues, Wellington City Council is looking at a range of ways to reduce pressure on the transport network, including encouraging more car sharing.
Its draft Car Share Policy – which is open for feedback until 11 March – outlines how this will be done and includes draft rules and guidelines that car share operators will need to comply with to qualify for free, or partially subsidised, on and off-street car parking spaces.
Under the draft policy, approved car share operators would initially be allocated two car parking spaces free of charge, where cars could be picked up from and returned to. Additional car parking spaces could be allocated to scheme operators as demand for car share vehicles grows.
Car share schemes have become popular in many cities around the world in recent years including Sydney, London and San Francisco, and there is growing interest in them here. Operators of the schemes provide cars in various locations, which people can book through websites or by phone and pay for by the hour.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says car share schemes are an important part of the modern sharing economy.
“They use technology to reduce both costs and environmental impacts,” she says. “We want to give people real transport choices.”
Cr Andy Foster, who chairs the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says the Council sees car sharing as having real value, especially for central city residents and businesses.
“For people who live and work in or close to the city, and businesses that only need access to a vehicle periodically, car sharing can be a very attractive option,” he says. “It can significantly lower living and business costs. For example, many city residential properties or businesses do not have their own car parking and car share scheme membership could give them access to a car when they need one.”
Cr Foster says car sharing fits well with the Council’s aims to encourage walking, cycling and public transport, and gives people another choice in how they get around. It could also help make creating new accommodation and businesses cheaper and more attractive.
“Experience elsewhere shows car share schemes reduce the need to own a car, or second car, effectively reducing the number of vehicles on the road and helping to curb traffic congestion.”
The Council has already made several central city car parking spaces available to car share operators Cityhop, Roam, and YourDrive free of charge as part of a 6-month trial, which began last month.
The draft Car Share Policy is available on the Have Your Say page, from libraries or by phoning 04 499 4444. Submissions can be made online, by email or post.