[WATCH] Maltese roads now get car sharing service

With 150 electric cars spread across 68 localities around Malta and Gozo, Israeli company Car Sharing Services Malta aims to reduce cars by maximising the amount of time they are being used

The company has already registered 1,000 users in its first week
The company has already registered 1,000 users in its first week

With a promise to reduce both traffic congestion and emissions, Car Sharing Services Malta (CSSM), a subsidiary of CAR2GO Israel, has unveiled a car sharing service using a fleet of electric cars.

The service will see 150 cars spread across 68 localities in Malta and Gozo. The cars can be found in some 450 designated parking spaces with accompanying charging points. 

Addressing the launch of the service CSSM CEO Liran Golan expressed his satisfaction at launching the first car sharing service in Malta, which he said would offer the country an alternative mode of transport.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel but we’re making the way people use their wheels a little different.”

Golan explained that GoTo’s fleet of electric cars would contribute to a reduction in car emissions and noise pollution, while also increasing convenience and flexibility to those who for example do not have time to look for parking spaces, or who did not want to have to deal with the costs associated with car ownership.

He stressed that GoTo was part of a general trend across society, that was seeing it shift from ownership of items to usership.

Golan said the company had already registered 1,000 users in one week and was confident, especially given the success of the service in other countries, that this number would continue to grow.

The rate of use of the service is 28c per minute, which covers all insurance, road licence tax, Valletta CVA fees, charging and parking costs. Additionally, users will pay a €7 a month membership fee. Golan said there would be savings packages for "heavy users".

The company, he said, would be investing up to €8 million in the service, which can be used by downloading an app. Once the app has been downloaded, users will have to submit a valid driving license, after which they will be able to see where cars are located and reserve them.

Once a car is reserved, users will have 15 minutes to reach the vehicle and, after a quick assessment of the car, start their journey.

Project key to Malta reaching EU targets

Transport Minister Ian Borg said he the launch of the service would not have been possible without Transport Malta’s (TM) desire to foster a shared economy in transport.

He thanked CSSM for submitting a proposal after TM issued an expression of interest for a car sharing project.

Borg stressed that private cars send some 97% of the time stationary. “We go to work and we leave it there.”

GoTo, he said, would allow the country to maximise the use of the car. He too noted that cars were the main source of emissions in Malta and that the use of electric vehicles, such as those being used by the company, would contribute to their reduction.

The minister added that the project would also make Malta one of the first member states to reach it electric car charging point targets. A limited number of charging points, he said, was one of the main obstacles preventing more widespread use of electric cars.

Referring to criticism that the service would be reduce the number of available parking spaces, Borg emphasised that people needed to embrace change. “It  is easy to complain because you feel that a parking space was yours by right, but the challenges facing us cannot be tackled without embracing change.”

Borg said that the service would complement government efforts to shift people onto alternative modes of transport like busses and ferries. He said that this year trips on busses will hit the 50 million mark, with use of ferries also seeing a considerable increase.

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