Interview with Jonathan Englert, Head of Communications at GoGet

GoGet is excited to announce that we have joined the Committee for Sydney.  The Committee for Sydney is an independent think tank and champion for the whole of our city, providing thought leadership beyond the electoral cycle. Its aim is the enhancement of the economic, social, cultural and environmental conditions that make Sydney a competitive and liveable global city.  In other words, their aim sounds a lot like ours.  We decided that it was a great time for GoGet to get even more involved in helping to shape Sydney into the Smart City that it is destined to become.  In the months ahead we’ll keep you posted on some of initiatives, learning and innovations we hope to generate together.  They’re a great bunch of people and count members across all aspects of Sydney life.  They even wrote an article about GoGet:

“We genuinely serve the whole community, supplying vehicles to every demographic including those with disabilities, seniors and government”

Picture2In only a few short years GoGet has become almost ubiquitous in most neighbourhoods in and around major Australian cities. If you haven’t hired a GoGet car or van yourself, you’ll have seen them, or their dedicated parking ‘pods’ and orange wing mirrors, near where you live or work.

In the second of our interviews with new members, we chatted to Jonathan Englert, GoGet’s Head of Communications, and asked why GoGet was keen to become members of the Committee for Sydney.

Since growing the business from three cars and twelve members in Newtown in 2003 to 80,000 members with a 2,000 vehicle fleet today, GoGet has clearly become a force to be reckoned with on the roads of Australia’s busiest cities and indeed they count themselves as one of the five biggest carsharing companies in the world.

“We genuinely serve the whole community, supplying vehicles to every demographic including those with disabilities, seniors and government” said Jonathan. “We’ve been instrumental in taking over 15,000 cars off the roads, freeing more than 65 kilometers of parking and reducing kilometers driven per year by 50 million.  This model is massively scalable. Carshare is a public transport option and could potentially having an impact on major infrastructure decisions.  Because of this, we really felt it was important to be an active participant of the conversation around shaping Sydney.  We want to learn from everyone and hopefully be able to give back too.”

By its nature GoGet is an eco-business, but building an ecological business model was only part of the mix setting out. The founders, Nic Lowe and Bruce Jeffreys, recognised there were a lot of unutilised vehicles that could be used better, or simply not at all, so the key thought was to change people’s behaviours first and their consciousness would follow. Green by default almost.Carshare schemes have been a phenomenal success with over 15% of city of Sydney drivers being members. “People recognise both the social and economic value in either not having a car at all or not buying a second car,” said Jonathan, “but there is still a way to go in education around carshare.”

That education is not just on a consumer level but also on a wider local government level. “Once local councils understand how carshare works and the substantial benefits it brings, approximately $6 for every $1 spent by council, they’re really enthusiastic about it,” he said.

GoGet is a member of the Carshare Association which is a worldwide membership body of carshare companies. As the first carshare company in Australia they built their own technology and now they’re the biggest, with an international reputation to boot, they’re keen to foster best practice. They’re proud to have introduced an accessible vehicle for those with disabilities and are actively seeking to expand this network, recognising the limitations of government funded taxi vouchers for disabled drivers and carers.

“Access for people with disabilities is very limited and also very expensive. We would love to find a partner or sponsor to help us grow this space”

GoGet_Central-Park-241x300GoGet’s commitment to transport innovation isn’t limited either. They’ve partnered with UNSW on driverless cars and are also working with government data scientists on data collection and how that can be used in urban planning.

When asked about Uber, Jonathan was keen to point out that GoGet sees them as another important multi-modal transport option. “With shifting generational mindsets, the rise in congestion and the realisation that car ownership isn’t a default, we welcome all alternative modes of transport. If people realise they can utilise buses, taxis, ubers and carshare, we’re all for it.”

GoGet has a clear aim to provide reliable, convenient and affordable transport that allows people to live car-free and they’re clearly very successful in what they do. They’re not putting the brakes on any time soon though with interests in self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles very much at the forefront.

“Education is what’s needed most,” said Jonathan. “We need to keep telling our story through both word of mouth and traditional mediums to educate people and governments on the important role carsharing has right now in decreasing car usage and improving air quality, and that it is a convenient and cost-saving option for the individual and business. But more importantly, it’s the role of carshare in the future and the part it will play in the success of our city, infrastructure that we want to communicate.”

You can learn more about GoGet at www.goget.com.au

Things you don’t know about carsharing

  • Global carsharing services has a projected revenue of US$6.2billion by 2020 with over 12 million members worldwide (graph of car going up)
  • One rental car replaces 15 owned vehicles (cars going in the bin)
  • 30% of households that join a carshare scheme sell their cars (car with 30% split)
  • In Japan a new concept vehicle, the Phiaro P70t Conch is a completely battery-powered, three-seater vehicle designed specifically for the purpose of carsharing (dinky new car)
  • Here, carsharing is gaining traction with developers who offer a GoGet vehicle in new apartment complexes in place of parking spots
  • The first reference to carsharing was a housing cooperative in Zurich in 1948
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