PopCar, the car sharing service committed to providing a more sustainable way for Australians to access cars when they need them, launches in Bryon Bay on World Environment Day today.

The launch of Popcar’s car share program is the first of its kind in the Northern Rivers and it is a joint and exclusive project with the Byron Shire Council which will see Popcar provide 10 hybrid cars to the area for short-term use. The initial 12-month share car pilot program with Popcar will enable Byron Bay residents and holidaymakers alike a new alternative to car ownership. For the first time, people in Byron Bay will have a convenient, alternative option to access a car without having to actually own a car.

Popcar provides its members with vehicles whenever they are needed, enabling Australians to only pay for the vehicles when they use the service. The new car share program will help Byron locals have the opportunity to alleviate the financial burden of owning a car while still having the freedom to get around and drive without restrictions. The service will also help reduce the number of cars on the road while solely offering hybrid cars with low emissions to encourage a more sustainable future. The partnership sees the council providing eight specific Popcar parking spaces in Byron Bay and two parking spaces in Mullumbimby to enable residents to pick up a car from a convenient location.

Commenting on the launch, Anthony Welsh, PopCar Director says: “We are thrilled to be launching our car share service for the first time and exclusively to the Byron Shire. The program will enable locals and visitors to the region to have an alternative, cost effective and convenient way to access some of the latest cars to suit any occasion.

“At Popcar, we are focused on shifting Australians’ mindset about car ownership to encourage more people to realise the benefits of car sharing and how it helps takes the hassle and cost out of car ownership. Car sharing is helping to get more cars off the road to both help the environment and reduce congestion to help the Byron town centre become more pedestrian-friendly. Though this is a pilot program we have high hopes that the region will embrace this more sustainable transport option and we look forward to continuing to work with the Council to promote alternative and sustainable transport options.

Simon Richardson, Mayor of Byron Shire Council says: “This pilot is to test the market and see if there is a long-term potential for a car sharing service in the Shire. We know that Byron residents keenly support sustainability initiatives and that’s why we partnered with Popcar as they can offer hybrid cars to reduce congestion with lower emission cars.

“There are many people in the community who may have a driver’s license but cannot afford a car or do not need one daily. With car sharing becoming a common service in capital cities in Australia, the Shire is proud to be adopting this concept for the first time. The advantage of car sharing is that people can have access to cars for short periods of time which is ideal if they need to get to an appointment, nip to the shops or want to have the freedom to easily go on a day trip to somewhere outside of the local area.”

Any licensed driver over the age of 18 will be able to use the car share service operated by Popcar which will take care of all running costs of the cars including registration, fuel, insurance and maintenance, so members of Popcar can book the car for whenever they need it and only pay for time they use the car. The cars are available to use from one hour to up to four days at a time. The range of hybrid cars that will be offered in Byron are Toyota Corolla Hybrid and as further models are added Popcar is planning on expanding the fleet with Australia’s first Toyota SUV hybrids.

Popcar is currently operating in specific locations across Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and the launch in Byron Shire forms part of Popcar’s broader plans to expand the service across the country. Details about the car share pilot program in Byron Shire is available here.