In the year since it was set up, car sharing service GoTo has attracted 8,000 users – of which almost 5,700 have made at least one trip in the last month.
This usage now adds up to over 650 trips every day, with steady ongoing growth in the number of registrations, active users and trips month on month, across both its One-Way and Roundtrip product offerings. Take-up has been popular across a number of demographics, according to the figures announced by GoTo CEO Liran Golan. In terms of nationality, GoTo’s user base seems to reflect the population living in Malta, with Maltese, English, Italian and French as the most prolific users. Age-wise, over 50 per cent of users are between 25 and 44 years old.
As the GoTo fleet is shared between its users, this uptake has reduced the amount of vehicles on the road, helping to build an effective transport solution that lessens the time that cars sit idly in parking bays or garages, Mr Golan said in comments to The Malta Business Observer. The fact that the majority of the fleet is electric also has knock-on positive effects for local air quality and the environment. Looking back on a busy year, Mr Golan said that, as a result, the launch of GoTo – Malta’s first nationwide car sharing service – has been a success. Discussing his expectations with regards to these demographics, Mr Golan said they were as largely expected, with young drivers the most eager to seek alternatives to car ownership. “As technology evolves and spreads, we’ll probably see an increase in adoption among an older audience,” he underlined.
“As a young, flexible and fast-growing company, we are also able to come up with different solutions like we did with the launch of our Basic Plan, which comes with a free membership, and Roundtrips to address the need for longer trips and earlier booking periods. We are reacting to what we know the market wants,” he explained. The company’s One-Way trips are designed for short journeys, like getting to and from work, or heading to the airport. The service is extremely effective because users can book in stantly, can use any GoTo parking spot, and will only pay per-minute for the time they are driving to their destination, the CEO stressed.
The Roundtrip service was launched more recently and is designed for longer trips, so users can make different stops on their journey. “This service is a little different because users pick a car up and then return it to the same location at the end of their time with it; in between, they can go to as many destinations as they need to,” Mr Golan said. “In this case, payment is perhour and bookings can be made up to three months in advance, allowing for longer-term planning. Going forward, we will continue to look for opportunities to address new audiences and improve mobility for everyone living in Malta and Gozo, and this will include expanding shared vehicle solutions to people in multiple age ranges.”
The last 12 months have certainly provided a learning experience for the company, which had already successfully operated in Israel before moving locally. With the new knowledge acquired in Malta, Mr Golan said that the company will be putting extra effort into growing its electric charging stations. “This will be hugely important for our growth and it will enable us to best support Malta’s infrastructure,” he explained.
“In addition, we are working with the authorities on the island to improve enforcement when it comes to the usage of parking spaces reserved exclusively for our customers.” Already looking to the future, in terms of how GoTo will evolve in the months to come, Mr Golan stated the company will be sustaining its growth by improving the distribution of its vehicles. Plans are also in place to constantly boost the GoTo technology experience for users, by continuing to bring smart and environmentally friendly mobility solutions to the islands.
Assessing feedback on the service so far, both the company’s individual and corporate customers are positive about it. “We are always happy to hear from people who have decided to replace their cars with a GoTo solution,” he said. “Our customers love the fact that they get to use electric vehicles to commute without having to break the bank. We also receive several compliments about our 24/7 customer service.” Mr Golan explained that the company’s long-term vision is to continue to take on the responsibility of leading shared mobility solutions for the islands. “Looking to the years ahead, we will continue to monitor Malta’s transportation needs and patterns in order to develop the right portfolio of shared mobility that will enable us to continue pursuing that.”
This is an excerpt of an interview which featured in the August edition of The Malta Business Observer.