Today I needed to borrow a van for a few hours to give someone a hand moving a few small but awkward boxes around. I have my own car but it’s quite low sprung so I didn’t want to risk overloading it as it was never designed as a vehicle to transport boxes around. Enter GoCar, the vehicle sharing solution.
Simply explained, GoCar operate a fleet of vehicles that are permanently based at various locations around Ireland. These vehicles can be located, booked and unlocked via a smartphone app. Some of them even enjoy free parking in any legal parking space operated by Dublin City Council.
Pricing is quite reasonable too, my van cost €10 an hour, which would have been capped at a maximum of €70 a day, with no additional charge for the first km traveled. All other expense, tax, insurance, etc., are all covered, as well as parking in Dublin City as mentioned above.
The only things that I would fault about the service are: 1. the iOS mobile app and 2. the vehicle search feature for Safari mobile, which are both a little buggy (or glitchy, in non-technical terms). I can totally live with these issues though, especially in circumstances where their customer service is so responsive and helpful should any issues arise. I also thought it a pity that I had to pick up and return the vehicle to the same location. However, I gather that the team is reviewing this so hopefully this will be possible in the future.
Although GoCar has been on my radar since 2014, I’ve never needed to use their service before yesterday. Signing up was a snap and only took a few minutes: Download the app, enter some personal and payment details and then upload pictures of both sides of your driving licence. Simple as that. I gather that it can typically take up to 48 hours to validate your license but a quick phone call had me up and running in seconds.
Looking through the most up to date fleet list, I see that customers can now borrow a range of vehicles from small city cars to vans and SUVs. I was thrilled to be able to hire a small van but am now considering using one of their SUVs on an upcoming photo mission with a few friends to Glendalough in Co. Wicklow where my low riding car struggles a little with potholes if I have people in the back.
Another obvious use case for me might be to facilitate city trips around Ireland. I really hate the monotony of motorway driving so I can totally see myself taking the train to visit places like Cork in the future and then using a GoCar to get me out to visit cool places like Kinsale when I arrive. This could provide the perfect opportunity to get a bit of work done on the way down and back.
Who else might be interested in using this service? I spoke to another first time user outside Google on Dublin’s Barrow Street. He told me that he’d just signed up for the service and was really excited about the prospect of using the fleet on an ongoing basis as he only lives two streets away from a GoCar station and doesn’t otherwise have access to a car.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first GoCar experience and I’d definitely recommend signing up to try the service asap, especially as they are offering free sign ups for the month of April (2018). In fact, I enjoyed the experience so much that were it not for the fact that I already own a car I probably would never bother buying one now that I’ve discovered GoCar.