Did you know the average vehicle is only in use for about 4% of the time that it’s owned? Wouldn’t life be better if we could just pay for that small usage, rather than the ownership costs of a vehicle that spends most of its time sitting idle?
Well, the exciting news is that Hamilton’s the latest city to get on-board with carsharing with the launch of “Loop” - a Waikato based scheme that allows users to book, access, drive and pay for a vehicle just through an app on their phone.
Loop have signed a project agreement with the council to provide a carsharing service in the Hamilton area for the next 3 years, and Hamilton City Council Chief Executive Richard Briggs said “It’s really exciting to support the delivery of another mobility solution for our businesses and the wider Hamilton public. To be able to do this in partnership with a Waikato based company that is immersed in our community really ticks all our boxes. Loop is a simple solution to a common problem and it’s one that can contribute to easing congestion and improving sustainability, so we’re absolutely delighted it’s here.”
Car sharing, which is huge in Europe and North America, connects customers to communal vehicles that are parked in convenient spaces around town, allowing them to be used on a pay-by-the-minute basis. Members who have the app on their phone and have gone through an initial sign-up process can simply take these cars and return them on completion of their journey. The app then bills a pre-registered credit or debit card for the time you had the car. All very easy!
As Mobility as a Service (MaaS) continues its rapid growth around New Zealand, Loop adds another dimension to Hamilton’s transport solution by allowing users full control of vehicles for unlimited periods of time - often at less cost than an Uber or a taxi.
There’s no subscription fees, no need to worry about the cost of fuel, insurance, depreciation, maintenance, registration or any of the other bills that vehicle ownership comes with. As Loop GM, Jamie Russell says “you pay for the journey, not the car”.
Loop expects the flexibility and value of their solution will be especially interesting for companies running fleet cars. Put simply, even if a company used a carshare vehicle solidly for 40 hours per week, Loop is confident its cars could still provide better value than companies current lease arrangements.
Jamie went on to say “By placing cars around town or in business parking spaces, then making them available to everyone, we can share the cost of ownership and start to combat the aggravation we all feel in having our second most expensive asset sitting idle for 95% of its life.
Technology gives us the opportunity to improve how we get around. For example, some of our early customers are telling us they’re more inclined to cycle to work now with the reassurance of having access to a vehicle should they need it throughout the day. Some are also tempted to give up their second car and just use Loop vehicles as they need them - we love hearing stories like this!”
Jamie expects Hamiltonians to see Loop cars becoming a more visible part of their daily lives as he reveals they have a steady roll-out plan for further vehicles over the next few months. “The fleet of Loop vehicles is going to build steadily over 2019. We’re ambitious to deliver a really outstanding service for the city and we want to become part of the fabric of Hamilton within as short a time as possible.”
Anyone interested in joining Loop should visit www.loopcarshare.com. Vehicles are available to anyone with a valid driver’s license and you only need to sign up once - from then on, you can book any of their vehicles directly from the app on your phone with the added benefit of special rates for overnight use.