Friday, September 03, 2010

Going and Getting

I thought I would post about another kind of adventure today. Since moving to Sydney, I have been taking public transportation, with the exception of a few taxis. Although at first I was overwhelmed, I have found it not as difficult as I complained the first couple of weeks. So, for now, we have decided to try to do without a car.

Sometimes, you really need a car, though, like when you're visiting your dog in quarantine, or buying a worm farm from the local home improvement store. So I decided to join GoGet, a car-sharing scheme. There is a $25 application fee, a $500 deposit (refundable if you decide not to renew your contract) and a $70 insurance fee. Then you can pay $9 per month, and rent the car for $8.50/hr, or pay $25 per month and rent the car for $5.50/hr. I chose the first option, since I am not sure how much we'll be using it, and it's a lot easier to upgrade than downgrade. The cost included fuel, which is nice.

Today I decided to go on a worm-farm buying trip as a way of trying out GoGet before I pick Ethan up on the 22nd. I was disappointed when I got to the spot and the car was not there, but it gave me a chance to see how GoGet works. I called the toll free number, waited a minute, and talked to a very pleasant lady. She said she would call the previous user and call me back. Within 10 minutes, she returned my call. The spot had been full, so the previous user had parked elsewhere. Since they did not notify GoGet (a condition of the contract), they were fined, and I will receive a $25 "inconvenience" refund. Too bad for the previous user, but the contract does specify that you're supposed to call GoGet right away if you have a problem.

The car was a Yaris, and worked just fine. I had to refill it, and unfortunately the fuel card was missing, so I will be reimbursed later. Overall, it was a good experience, especially the customer service (which I find is not stellar in Australia). I hope I continue to be happy with the service.


Anonymous said...

I love these car sharing systems (zipcar in the USA), at least in principle. Why own something you use infrequently, especially in a metropolitan environment? Just the fees for parking in some apartments are more than you'd spend on this system a month. Most of the time cars are just sitting there being unused. A real waste. I think the systems for managing these cars is going to improve a lot over the next few years and it will become a lot better. I'm looking forward to most people renting cars instead of owning, at least in metro areas.


L said...

I think it's one of those chicken and the egg things in some places in the U.S. Public transport sucks, so no one uses it, so they can't imagine a car share, but the reason public transport sucks is because everyone funnels their money into their vehicles and doesn't see the need for it.

Like I said, so far I really like GoGet. Plus, it saves me a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

Yes-- I think the car sharing is a great idea. When we moved to FL we tried being a one car family and so far it has worked better than I thought. But of course, we are retired.
The mass transit here (Tampa area)is definitely behind other cities of its size. It is about a mile and a half to the closest bus stop - a little further than I would want to walk on a hot day.
One issue with the car sharing for us would be the trip to the pick-up site.


L said...

Yeah, I can walk to the site nearest me, but if that car is being used, I really have to take the bus to any of the other cars. Not an option for you, it sounds like.

Alpha Monkey said...

It's really cool that you're able to live without owning a car. I wish we had better public transportation in Columbus. Rob and I get by with owning one car. It has worked out well since we both work from home.

By the way, what is a worm-farm? Is it anything like an ant-farm?

Mom said...

Read in USA Today that there are now around 90 bicycle sharing systems. These are at various colleges/universitys, including U. Ak/Anchorage. How cool is that?