The group of Edmonton entrepreneurs behind the wheel of a new local car sharing company say they saw a dire need for the service in the city.
Pogo co-founder Kieran Ryan said the idea came to them after discussing car sharing services in other cities, and they wondered why there wasn’t anything similar in Edmonton.
“Then someone said, ’Why don’t we start a car share in Edmonton?’” Ryan said.
Ryan said subscribers to the service will pay for the rides by the minute. A mobile app helps customers find an available car, which they can open with their membership card. Inside, a PIN code will give access to the car’s keys and keep track of how long the car is in use.
When a driver is done with a car, it can be parked in any city-owned parking spots in central Edmonton and left for the next customer.
Ryan said the company charges $0.47 per minute for the use of the car, up to a maximum of $14.99 an hour. That cost covers gas and parking.
The cars must be dropped off in a specific zone, which stretches from Groat Road to 95th street between 79th Ave to 105th Ave. However, the vehicles can be taken outside of that area, as long as they are returned.
Ryan said they’ve been testing the concept with 10 unmarked vehicles and think the demand for car sharing is high in the city.
“There’s been tremendous interest … there were a a lot of people we ran into who said, ‘How can we start this sooner.’”
Mayor Don Iveson, who was on hand for the announcement, said Pogo fits well with the city’s transportation goals.
“Officially, I get to take the first trip today, which I’m really thrilled about ... this is a really cool thing,” he said.
He predicted the idea will work well in conjunction with Edmonton’s public transit system. And said the program would not only benefit those who don’t own a vehicle, but also families that have an occasional need for a second or third car.
The company will start with 20 cars, and plans to add another 30 in the coming months. Ryan hopes to increase that number to 150 within a year.