Dublin 'car club' rental scheme may be approved

Fri, Nov 16, 2012, 00:00

Plans for a Dublin city “car club” similar to the successful bike rental scheme could be approved early next week.

The transport and traffic strategic policy committee will vote on proposed bylaws next Tuesday in a move that could involve up to 1,000 private cars being rented from regular pay-and-display parking spaces.

The aim of the scheme, which would be operated privately without the need for any further infrastructure, is to reduce traffic volumes in the city, particularly among those who only require cars for short periods of time.

Payment for the parking spaces will be incorporated into the overall fee for running the service, so those who rent the vehicles will not have to worry about hourly charges.

Details on how the scheme would actually work will be up to the individual operator.

Income

Dublin City Council insists the measure is intended as more of a traffic-reduction initiative than to generate income for the authority.

According to the council, such a scheme could potentially take 15 cars out of the city for every one rental car available, which, based on an initial upper limit of 1,000, would theoretically reduce volume by as many as 15,000 cars.

Those who eventually run the car club will have to comply with strict regulations, including insurance, safety and other public service requirements.

The idea dates back to the 1940s and various models have been operating in countries like the US and Germany since the 1980s. Nor is it new to Ireland – the company GoCar operates in Dublin and Cork offering members vehicles for rent based on distance and time.

Some companies employ annual membership fees on top of hourly rates, while others simply opt for the latter. If the proposed bylaws are agreed to on Tuesday, they will then be considered at December’s full meeting of Dublin City Council.

Public consultation

Once rubber-stamped there, plans would go to public consultation for eight weeks in early 2013, before a final vote by councillors to adopt. The scheme is an objective of the city development plan.

Aside from traffic volumes, it is envisaged the club would have other benefits, including the reduction of crowded on-street parking in residential areas as well as cuts in emission levels due to the use of new vehicles.

While the idea is not strictly about raising revenue, the report notes that local authorities “continue to be acknowledged as having a significant role to play in the success of car clubs as, in many cases, they control access to parking.

The finer details of a scheme, including access to cars and payment rates and procedures, will be up to the eventual operator.

However, at this stage there is no indication of who that might be or how private businesses will eventually apply.