The sharing economy

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During July our local economic development agency, Priority One created a pop-up hub to ‘reshape the way we approach alternative transport modes in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty’. Individuals and teams had the opportunity to rethink their commuting choices whilst being encouraged to change their current transport method, through education and given the opportunity to take test rides of various transport options.

Data has shown that nearly 90% of commute journeys are taken by private motor vehicles. That won’t come as a surprise to many of us, considering that we have well documented traffic congestion challenges and 74% of Tauranga’s emissions come from transport. Based on this, isn’t it time that we all, individually, took a look at how we are moving around our city?

How about not taking that trip today, perhaps combine multiple movements into one, maybe take the bus, cycle, or ride-share just once a week? With just a couple of small changes could we reduce our reliance on private cars and change that 90% statistic?

I believe that once our thinking starts to shift and we make these small changes to our daily movements, we will begin to question why we need two cars available at all times parked in our driveways. And why we need to pay for car ‘storage’ each day in a car park close to our place of work. When our multi-modal thinking takes over, we can reduce our ownership to one vehicle, reduce the costs of fuel, vehicle maintenance, daily parking fees, and in turn reduce our urban traffic congestion problems.

We will begin to notice alternative options for certain types of trips – using an appropriate method on that particular day. Rather than driving to the park, we will cycle. Rather than driving to work we will take the bus today because it’s raining and not suitable for cycling. We will utilise a shared scooter service for that last kilometre or hire a shared car for that one off trip to see a customer – and more importantly, only pay for what we need when we need it.

Own less. Live more. That is the mantra of the sharing economy: an ecosystem where people rent, borrow, or trade instead of own. The sharing economy will feature more and more in our transportation options. In order for this system to work efficiently and appeal to the masses, shared car, bike and scooter services should be no more than a few minutes walk away from our homes and workplaces. Major commuter routes should have frequent, safe, and reliable public transport options such as buses, trams, or trains. The combination of all of these shared services will allow us to move our focus from ownership to usership, and slowly but surely our city will breathe again.

During September, we will be celebrating World EV Day, World Car Free Day, International Day of Clean Air, and World Ozone Day. I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to rethink how you travel and perhaps make a couple of small changes to how you commute.

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Steven Vincent
Steven Vincent
Steven Vincent is the founder of GoTo Car Share. He can be reached on steven@goto.nz

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