As Malta’s car sharing leader GoTo completes its first full year in operation, statistics show that its 12,000 users have driven over 1.8 million kilometres in the last 12 months – saving over 1,000 tons in CO2 emissions and helping local society to move towards a more shared and balanced economy.
Thanks to this growth, each of GoTo’s cars, now, potentially replaces 16 vehicles on the roads. “If we had to pick one word to describe 2019 it would be ‘change’”, said GoTo Chief Marketing Office (CMO) Johnny Tominaga.
“We have tested, learned, failed and evolved a lot.” The team at GoTo believes change to have been key to their success so far: improving their technology; implementing smarter ways of distributing their vehicles; increasing the number of vehicles available; and trying to stay as close as possible to their customers have been key, the CMO said.
Moreover, the ability to constantly change and evolve – by learning from their mistakes – has enabled the company to grow and establish a strong presence in the competitive mobility landscape that Malta has grown into throughout this year.
Looking back on a year of milestones, Mr Tominaga cited the launch of the service’s Basic Plan as key to making it accessible to more customers, “even if they don’t need to use shared mobility as regularly or simply don’t want to pay for a recurring subscription fee,” he explained.
“Then, with Roundtrips – our service which is ideal for planned journeys – we started addressing multiple consumer needs, by enabling customers to start booking trips further in advance and pay per hour, which reduced the pressure for bringing the car back.
“Now, continuing to understand and address mobility needs is where we see our path for growth. That’s what we hope for with the launch of our scooter fleet. With scooters, our customers can ride shorter distances more freely, and take advantage of more flexible parking options.”
Meanwhile, the launch of GoTo’s Business Plans also helped to make car sharing service more appealing to business customers. To date, over 50 companies have incorporated shared mobility into their operations and offerings to employees.
“And along with all that, our technology is constantly evolving to accommodate different demands and incorporate improvements into our services,” Mr Tominaga said.
The benefits of car sharing are, of course, numerous. 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.
The fact that the majority of the fleet is electric also has knock-on positive effects for local air quality and the environment. “The sustainability side of what we do is very important,” he continued.
“Not to mention the fact that, as GoTo’s popularity grows, traffic reduces because there are actually less cars on the road.” Going into further detail about the success of the last 12 months, the CMO explained he is pleased with the level of growth.
Indeed, the GoTo fleet grew from 150 vehicles to 450, and made upwards of 700 trips per day and more than 200,000 trips overall. “Incorporating AI into our operation was critical in helping us narrow the availability gap, while using smart metrics and outreach tools was essential to help us reach thousands of people who became loyal advocates.
But putting together an outstanding team of astonishingly talented people made it all possible,” he said of recent successes.
“It’s extremely inspiring to see such passionate individuals working together and going the extra mile to make ends meet. I believe that finding the right people for the right positions was our greatest achievement this year, and we couldn’t have made it this far without each of them.”
And with 2020 now firmly in focus, Mr Tominaga said the company is confident it will continue to see more and more people start using shared mobility solutions like theirs.
With this in mind, it will continue to create new ways of bringing shared mobility solutions to the population in Malta. “Our vision is that if it’s worth going, the best way to get there is with GoTo,” he said. “We’ll strive to continue to build on that in every aspect of our operation.”
As for the future of the island’s mobility as a whole, Mr Tominaga expressed his belief that, as the island keeps growing and thriving economically, continuous investment in transportation infrastructure and mobility solutions are not only vital, but will also help to create a virtuous growth cycle.
“GoTo will continue to play an important role, not just by bringing a more sustainable approach with shared mobility solutions, but also by building the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles, which we plan to open up to everyone in the future,” he concluded.
This interview initially appeared in the December edition of The Malta Business Observer.