Increased use of car sharing could reduce the number of cars on Irish roads by an estimated 300,000 – GoCar

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Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

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 New research from GoCar reveals Ireland’s latest car usage trends

  • One in five car owners plan to get rid of second car
  • 65% of car owners claimed the rising costs of running a car would influence them to give up their car
  • 40% of private car trips take 14 minutes or less
  • 78% said that the biggest barrier to giving up a car was the grocery shop
  • Over a third of people (37%) use their car to commute every day
  • 20% would prefer to use the car less
  • 70% of car owners would be more likely to give up their car if public transport was better

Ireland’s largest car and van-sharing service, GoCar has released a study, the GoCar Index, which revealed that nearly one in five (18%) of car owners plan to get rid of their second car in the coming years.

With 20% of respondents saying they wouldn’t care about owning a car if it was easier to rent one as they needed it, there is an opportunity for car sharing services to help reduce the number of private cars on Ireland’s roads by an estimated 300,000. This is based on figures from the CSO that 1.5 households own a car.

The research also found that 78% of car owners would not give up their car as they need it for the grocery shop and 70% of car owners would be more likely to give up their car if there was better public transport. Reasons cited that would encourage drivers to say goodbye to their motor are the increasing costs of running a car (65%), wanting to cycle or walk more (41%) and reducing their carbon footprint (35%).

The GoCar Index highlights the heavy reliance on cars in Ireland and was done in partnership with Amárach Research. It was compiled from a nationally representative sample of 1,201 adults in the Republic of Ireland and features secondary research and data from several other studies.

Multiple Motors

According to the Central Statistics Office, 760,000 households in Ireland have more than one car[2]. The GoCar research found that one in five (21%) respondents have two or more cars, and over a quarter of this group were those with children (28%). Of those who own two or more cars, half (50%) say an additional car is needed to manage transportation for their family, whilst 38% claim work as their reason for needing an additional set of wheels. The findings also suggest that there is an element of unease about owning more than one car, with 16% claiming they feel guilty about the environmental impacts of multiple cars in the household.

Of those surveyed, 60% cited a lack of public transport infrastructure and over half (54%) are hesitant to give up their car as it’s needed to travel to work. Over 1 in 10 (11%) are hesitant to give up the car as others rely on them, particularly men (16% vs 8% women). However, 20% would like to use the car less often but they are not familiar with the alternatives.

Time Spent Spinnin’

Over half of the respondents (51%) say they drive every day, with daily driving more common among those aged 45-54, the majority of which have children and are in a two-car household.

GoCar found that 37% of respondents use the car to commute to work every day and 26% of respondents use the car every day for the school run with 15% using their car every day for grocery shopping. It was also revealed that 29% of car trips are 5km or less which was most prevalent for trips made in Dublin (40%). Usage data from GoCar shows that the average distance of a return GoCar trip is 86km, suggesting that GoCar customers use the cars for more intentional trips rather than brief, potentially unnecessary journeys.

Sharing is Caring

Only 27% of people are familiar with the car-sharing services available in Ireland and respondents say they are more likely to consider using a car-sharing service if they had access to a car whenever they needed it (41%). The main perceived benefit of using a car-sharing service was the freedom from maintenance or running costs (41%).

According to the AA, the average distance driven by a private car owner is 16,000km costing an average of €10,691[3]. Without the burden of insurance, tax, fuel, maintenance and NCT, the equivalent annual cost of driving 16,000km in a GoCar is estimated at €3600, based on an average hourly cost of €11.25. This is a third of the cost of running a private car which is a potential saving of up to €7000.

Paul McNeice, Head of Country for Europcar Mobility Group, said We have the potential to remove nearly 1,000,000 cars from Irish roads. The GoCar Index identifies the over reliance on private cars in Ireland, but we all know this comes at a price – the cost of running a car, the environmental impact, as well as increasing congestion. The NTA recently highlighted that simple changes such as walking and cycling could take 680,000 cars off the road every day. As the leading car sharing platform in Ireland, GoCar has a pivotal role to play in this reduction with the opportunity remove a further 300,000 private cars through better use of our car sharing service.”

Joe Quirke, Head of GoCar, said, “We have invested €10 million to increase our fleet to more than 1,100 vehicles across 600 locations in Ireland making car sharing even more convenient and accessible. We’ve also invested in our app to facilitate an even more seamless experience.

GoCar provides a cost-effective alternative to car ownership which not only addresses the financial burdens associated with car ownership but also contributes to reducing carbon footprints and helping to reduce the number of cars taking unnecessary journeys. A recent poll of our GoCar users showed that 60% would look to purchase a car if the service ceased.”

GoCar works on a pay-per-trip basis which allows users the freedom to access a vehicle when and as they need it.