We have recently focused on the emergence of Car Sharing, both in Australia and across the world, from a planning, development and parking perspective. For the most part, our coverage of car sharing programs has concentrated on the benefits of car sharing programs, and how the City of Sydney in particular has enthusiastically embraced them.
However, as can be expected, not everyone is in favour of these schemes. Bayswater Car Rentals, for example, claim that the scheme effectively ‘subsidises their competition’, providing car sharing operators with free on-street parking whereas they are still required to pay commercial rates for parking spaces. The car-share companies do not pay rent for their car spaces, on the grounds that they are used mostly by residents, but they do pay the annual parking permit fees for each of their vehicles that residents also pay – $49 a year.
The council also bears the cost of enforcing the exclusive use of the spaces through its rangers, however, it has said it would impose charges for the partial or full cost of installing onstreet car spaces from 2011/12 onwards.
Resident groups in inner-city Sydney claim that the car sharing schemes have lost a large number of car spaces (they claim a number of around 50 spaces), being replaced by car-share vehicles that sit for days unused, reducing availability in busy urban areas.
Interesting to see the other side of the story! Obviously car sharing will be at its most effective given high utility rates. But have Sydney Councils gone too far?