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Car-sharing clubs to cut vehicle numbers?

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JERSEY should consider introducing car-sharing companies and technology to reduce traffic, pollution and create more parking spaces, the head of Digital Jersey has said.

Tony Moretta said that developments in technology were helping to revolutionise how we think about transport, and a great example was the emergence of car clubs, like Zip Car.

Car clubs work by providing a fleet of vehicles at various locations, which subscribers can use or book using smartphone technology.

A specialised app indicates where cars can be picked up and also acts as a key to unlock and start the vehicle, meaning it is not necessary to hand over keys.

Mr Moretta said that car clubs allowed much more efficient use of vehicles.

‘If you are in a big city now, there are always car clubs. When you think about most people’s cars, where do they spend their time? Most of their time is spent sitting in a car park,’ he said.

‘You have plenty of people who live in town and walk to work and they have a car. They might use it to do a big supermarket trip or go to the beach but what percentage of the time is that car sitting there doing nothing?

‘It’s depreciating in value and taking up a car parking space. If you made cars available to people through a car club, in particular electric cars because they help the environment, and say you can hire a car for Sunday afternoon or Wednesday evening, then you are going to get much better usage from that car.’

Tony Moretta, CEO of Digital Jersey Picture: ROB CURRIE. (25350662)

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It was recently reported that there were more than 126,954 vehicles registered in Jersey for a population of 106,800 people. Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis believes the true number of cars in the Island is lower, however, as he says some may have been scrapped or taken overseas without DVS being notified.

Mr Moretta said that Jersey’s security would make it a good location for a car club and the introduction of one could help drastically reduce the number of cars in the Island.

‘Everyone talks about productivity of people. What we have got here is productivity of cars,’ he said.

‘Just think about the difference it would make on a small Island if you can do all the things you want to do, just with fewer cars.

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‘If you doubled the productivity of the cars you would have half the cars in Jersey. And it wouldn’t just reduce traffic at rush hour, it would reduce the amount of parking spaces that are needed and reduce emissions.’

He added: ‘It’s probably easier to do the car-club thing here than other places because you are not going to get the issues with theft. You could say to Condor – you do not allow cars on if they are car-club cars.

‘I do think that a key part of sustainable transport is what technology enables you to do nowadays. A car club wouldn’t have worked in the past because the technology wasn’t there but now it is.

‘For example, in the past you would have to hand keys over – but now they convert the cars so that they don’t need keys and they use their phones. Technology has enabled this.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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