GoTo Car Share: Go to it!

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There’s more to car sharing than you probably realise. There is certainly a lot more to it than I realised: what an eye-opener the experience was for me when I decided to take up the offer of using the GoTo Car Share service for the day recently.

I’m used to landing at an airport, showing my license, filling in forms, handing over my credit card and being told to check carefully for damage and then wait when hiring a car – the GoTo experience had an entirely different feel.

For one thing, the hard [easy] work was all done on-line the night before and although I was dubious about the need to download the user app, I did so that night.

Thank goodness I did because there were no keys to pick up, no forms to sign, no fuel tank to check … no stress. Just a booking and a start button on the app.

I booked a Tesla online for six hours, confident I would have all my errands done, the vehicle dropped back and plugged in on-time by 3pm.

Although I made a point on the day of catching up with the company’s founder Steven Vincent for a run-over their car share offering and operation, my next booking simply won’t require any human contact at all – I’ll book on the app, turn-up, unlock via the app and drive away. Yup, that easy.

I’m certainly not anti-social (I don’t think), but there’s something quite empowering about not needing to queue, wait for a human, form-fill and go through the niceties of a chat about the weather and the traffic congestion when you’re in a hurry.

GoTo Car Share offers a range of electric vehicles to choose from – all from the app; for those needing a car for deliveries around town for the day, the Nissan Leaf’s small form and low tariff may be just the right fit.

On the other hand, the manager visiting from out of town, or the consultant you agreed to provide with an executive vehicle for a couple of days may be better suited to the MG ZS or the Hyundai IONIQ.

However, I was going to travel a few kilometres and I wanted a bit of ‘wow’ factor for the day, so I booked a Tesla Model 3 (I have a confession to make: this was my first full day in a Tesla and deep down I found it all quite exciting).

I jumped in and was pleased to immediately see a ‘full charge’ on board – just short of 400km available to me – that eliminated any range anxiety, though I double-checked and there was a fob for rapid charge on the run from the public network if needed during the day – all provided without any fuss and bother.

Like many of you, although I have had some good car hire experiences over the years, I have unfortunately also had my share of bad ones: vehicles unavailable, an expired-driver’s-license-surprise in a foreign city, ghost credit card charges appearing a month after hire, poor customer service, long queues, waits for car servicing, over-the-top car refill and mileage instructions and general treatment akin to that of a shoplifter in a charity store.

The GoTo Car Share model has eliminated all that negative baggage – the GoTo experience for me on 22 August was simple and enjoyable – the pick-up base in central Tauranga was a perfect location for me on the day, and the quick orientation and car once-over was easy.

I knew from my app what the charge for the day was going to be – the easy to calculate base hourly rate is capped for certain time periods, meaning no nasty surprises if you need to change plans or be fluid during the day.

You also have the flexibility of hiring from 30 mins to all day, weekends or longer.

In my case, come 1pm, I knew it was going to suit me better to keep the car for an extra hour until 4pm – how wonderful to be able to extend the booking from the app there and then at a minimal charge with no penalties (to be honest I didn’t ‘need’ the car for an extra hour, I simply ‘wanted’ to keep driving it).

I asked Steven Vincent about the trend to EVs in the car share space: “GoTo Car Share is simply following a trend overseas for practical, convenient, affordable EV car sharing right here in the BOP.”

“We make a point of ensuring we have good accessible parking and quality charge facilities in Tauranga city. You’ll never pick up a car here that’s not fully charged and ready to go.”

“I think that’s why we’re getting such a good uptake and regular repeat business, whether that’s executives looking for a Tesla to take to Auckland for an overnight trip, or small business using a Leaf for a half day to catch-up on a deliveries backlog – it’s cheaper than buying and maintaining a new pool car, it’s good for the environment and it just makes sense.”

I have to add one more advantage to his list: “ … and it’s fun.”

For more information on GoTo Car Share go to www.goto.nz

Alan Neben
Alan Neben
Alan Neben is a Mount Maunganui local and experienced New Zealand publisher. His columns provide a light-hearted perspective on social changes effecting New Zealanders

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