Public money could be invested in a car sharing scheme in Jersey, with Guernsey's Environment and Infrastructure President closely watching what happens.
Jersey's Infrastructure Minister, Tom Binet has said that taxpayers there may invest or take a stake in privately owned company Evie to encourage people to share vehicles rather than owning one that sits in a space for most of the time.
This official endorsement of car-sharing in Jersey, and possible Government funding of it, has been described there as a “seminal moment” for the green transport business Evie, its founder has said.
Jersey drivers can already access the Evie car sharing scheme, with Deputy Binet's announcement coinciding with the arrival of a new addition to the Evie fleet in the form of a small twin-seat electric quadricycle made by Citroen called the Ami.
The firm has imported 12 Amis to the island and hopes to expand that to 100 – allowing people to make single journeys around Jersey, as they already can with Evie bikes. The Evie bikes are also available for use in Guernsey but the car-sharing version is not yet on the horizon here.
Evie Director and Founder Gavin Breeze said: “To fully embrace an A-to-B car-sharing model, we need support from (Jersey's) Government to help bridge the funding chasm, and Deputy Binet’s comments this week are extremely encouraging.
“Until this week, we had 20 vehicles and 170 dockless bikes. We have recorded over 20,000 people riding our bikes and 4,000-4,500 people have used our cars.
“If we can deploy more cars, which makes them easier to find and drop off, it is a virtuous circle; more people will use them because they are easier to find.
“At the moment, if you pick up one of our electric cars from opposite the bus station, you have to drop it back there.
"The arrival of the first Amis is a small step on the way to a new business model, which introduces A-to-B travel. This could mean, for instance, hiring a car to drive to the Airport and leaving it there; or picking one up at the Airport when you arrive, using the app to check availability.”
Pictured: Jersey's Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet.
Guernsey's E&I President said she is pleased to see the progress made in Jersey towards encouraging car sharing, and said it is something that could work in Guernsey too.
Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez said: "It’s really good to see other jurisdictions making positive steps to reduce emissions, changing the way we think about travel through schemes like car-sharing. Jersey, like us, has obvious space constraints, so car-sharing makes sense as it’s a much more space-efficient way of providing more people with more transport options.
“Shared mobility, as it’s known in transport circles, is something that we are keen to support too, because space is such a valuable commodity in Guernsey and we need to use it as wisely as possible – especially given the States’ recent decision to plan for a bigger population. We simply don’t have the room to scale up how we travel around the island at the moment, so we have to do things differently.
“To complement the e-bikes that are provided by the States of Guernsey for work journeys from a number of sites, the States of Guernsey has partnered with EVie to trial a car-sharing scheme for employees at Sir Charles Frossard House, encouraging staff to use this shared electric vehicle for journeys during the day so that they don’t feel obliged to bring their own car in. This encourages and better enables staff to walk, cycle or catch the bus to and from work, whilst providing them with a low-pollution option if they need a vehicle during the working day. This trial has recently commenced, so we will be reviewing our findings early next year.
“We know from other places where car-sharing has been successfully introduced that this has the potential to greatly reduce the need for parking: in the UK for example, each car club vehicle negates the need for 18.5 privately owned vehicles, so if car sharing is scaled up here it has the potential to release space currently used for parking for more economic or socially valuable purposes, such as housing and open amenity areas. Car-sharing also helps reduce congestion, cost of living and carbon emissions, and improves air quality and affordable transport options for islanders, which is why it is something we support.”
Pictured: Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez is Guernsey's Environment and Infrastructure President.
Mr Breeze said that there were many advantages to car-sharing which are becoming apparent in Jersey already.
“Cars spend 96% of their lives doing nothing, so they tend to be very expensive under-utilised assets,” he said. “They need somewhere to go – and transport planners have worked out that each car needs 3-5 spaces to make it useful.
“The Government plan for another 7,000 residential units by the end of the decade. The current ratio is 1 unit to 0.7 parking spaces so that is almost 5,000 additional vehicles arriving in Jersey, based on each space being filled.
“And if you need 3-5 parking spaces per car to make it worthwhile, that is an awful lot of additional parking.
“If, however, with car-sharing you reduce that ration from 0.7 to, say, 0.2 spaces per residential unit, that is a significant reduction.
“The developer is happy because they can reduce the number of spaces and, hence, building costs, and the driver is happy because they have less fuel, parking, maintenance and other costs.
“It will drive through the change in behaviour which we are seeing in many European cities.”
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