Benjamin Hansen – @ben_hansen
A Hawthorn councilor has predicted that Glenferrie Road will be less congested after a car-sharing scheme he has promoted comes into effect this month.
Residents of Hawthorn will soon see a new breed of car on their streets, one that is proposed to reduce the amount of traffic seen on the roads and lower the amount of greenhouse gases produced.
The Melbourne based company FlexiCar is a subscription service where subscribers pay a monthly fee and then pre pay for a FlexiCar vehicle depending on how long they intend to use the service for.
Previously, Hawthorn users of the service had been required to travel to Richmond to access their closest car. Now though, the City of Boroondara and FlexiCar, have partnered for a two-car pilot program to be introduced in the Glenferrie Shopping Precinct throughout late March.
If the pilot succeeds its goal, these two FlexiCar branded vehicles will become a permanent feature on Glenferrie Road, meaning residents and shoppers could soon see fewer parking spaces along the street and street-side businesses losing customers due to the share vehicles parking ‘pods’ taking up parking spaces on an already over-crowded street.
Glenferrie Ward councilor Phill Meggs does not expect to see electric cars as an option in the Hawthorn area, “if the pilot is successful we [the council] will push towards having more fuel efficient cars, but electric cars do not last as long as the conventional car, and require more harmful chemicals to produce the larger onboard batteries,” said Cr Meggs.
FlexiCar’s General Manager Greg Giraud believes that car sharing has become increasingly popular, as inner city residents look for short-term vehicle requirements, or for families when a second car is sometimes needed for those Saturday morning soccer runs and cannot justify purchasing another car for this sole reason. “It provides a great alternative to owning a car,” he said.
FlexiCar member Random Jones who lives in the northern suburbs said, “It works as advertised, sometimes though the car closest to my home is taken but there’s always a second car available that’s close by.”
Currently there are over 110 cars located in several of Melbourne’s inner suburbs including St Kilda, Richmond, South Yarra, and Carlton. Though, due to the increased amount of subscribers, this number is expected to rise over the next couple of months.