Shared Mobility by Region: Australia & New Zealand

shared mobility

Last month, our shared mobility by region series took us to South and Latin America. This time we take a look ‘down under,’ at the shared mobility offerings in Australia and New Zealand. Australia comprises a land area of about 7.692 million square kilometres making it the planet’s sixth largest country with a population of 24.6 million. However, Australia’s population is expected to exceed more than 30 million people by 2031. Most of this growth will occur in its four major cities: Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. Similar to Australia, Auckland accounts for more than half of New Zealand’s population. New Zealand’s population is projected to reach more than 5 million by 2026, and 6 million by 2061. 

For decades, private vehicles were the number one method of transportation in Australia and New Zealand. Other main methods of transport included buses, trains, trams and ferries. However, new emerging technology has changed the way Australians and New Zealanders travel to work. Read on to learn more about shared mobility in Australia and New Zealand.


Car Share Market in Australia


As a nation, Australians are very attached to their independence, autonomy and the privacy that comes with owning their own vehicle. These are the challenges that car share services have faced upon entering the Australian transportation market. With the exception of Sydney, the country has been a slow adopter of the sharing economy, however this has changed within the last few years.

GoGet was the first operational car share service in Australia. It was launched as Newton CarShare in Sydney during June 2003, with only three vehicles and twelve founders. Today it is one of Australia’s largest carshare services with a fleet of over 2800 vehicles. Since then, carsharing services have been embraced by Australia’s big cities as a way to reduce congestion, carbon emissions and parking problems. A few of top car sharing companies currently operating in Australia are: Flexicar, GreenShareCar, Hertz 24/7 and Popcar.

In a report from Aecom, it was found that a fleet of 9,000 carshare vehicles could reduce Sydney’s private car ownership by 2%. The service has become so attractive that Australian property developers are partnering with carshare service providers. The aim is to embed their vehicles into new apartment complexes, reducing the number of private car parking spaces.

At first, car sharing was difficult to implement. Carsharing parking spaces were impossible to find, insurance arrangements were vague, and the platform for sharing enforced rigid time frames and payment structures. Fortunately, a lot of these barriers have now been broken down. Most local city councils now maintain a policy for the allocation of car sharing parking spaces. Insurance cover for peer-to-peer carsharing is now a standard option.

Car2Go is currently working on implementing its services into the Australian market by mid-2019. Compared to the current market leaders, GoGet and Car Next Door, Car2Go allows users to take vehicles on one-way journeys without needing to return cars to their pick-up point. However, in order to execute this scheme correctly, the company will have to overcome widespread city parking permissions. According to CEO Thomas Beermann:

“In order for us to launch, it is essential that we get a parking regulation that covers the entire business area, the parking regulation needs to include access to all parking – paid parking, metered parking and also residential parking”

The initial vehicle offerings from Car2go will be internal-combustion-engined Mercedes-Benz vehicles, with plans to expand to EVs in the future. If successful, this scheme will be one giant step forward in changing the future infrastructure of Shared Mobility throughout Australia.

Peer-To-Peer Car Sharing in Australia

Car Next Door vehicle

Another shared mobility service which is growing in popularity is peer-to-peer car sharing. Car Next Door is a company that connects car borrowers with car owners. It was launched in 2012 in Sydney and there are now more that 28,000 borrowers and 800 cars listed. This scheme is particularly attractive to car owners who earn, on average, $360 per month. Peer-to-peer car sharing has been more successful in lower density areas, as it does not need a certain amount of users to keep it operational.

The future of car sharing in Australia is a bright one. Industry revenue is expected to grow 22.4% per year over the next five years, to reach $102.7 million by 2022.


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New Zealand has one of the highest rates of car ownership in the world. There were around 3.858 million vehicles reported in New Zealand in 2015, with a population of just 4.794 million. Figures from the NZ Transport Agency show that by 2015 there were 800 new vehicles registered, each week, in Auckland alone.

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As a means to reduce congestion and combat environmental issues such as carbon emission, car share schemes were launched in New Zealand. The first company was Cityhop. It was launched in 2007 and currently has over 2,500 customers, with 35 vehicles in Auckland, and four cars in Wellington. The company is also in partnership with the energy company Mercury which provided an Electric Vehicle for Cityhop’s carshare fleet.

The latest car share company to launch in New Zealand is called Mevo, which began operations in Wellington in December 2016. Mevo is a round-trip car sharing service, and currently operates a fleet of six plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The company is also the world’s first ‘climate positive car share’. It uses carbon credits to remove more emissions from the atmosphere than it produces.

Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing in New Zealand

In 2015, Cityhop was joined by two peer-to-peer car share companies called YourDrive and Roam. YourDrive is located in ten cities with a primary focus on Auckland, then Wellington and Christchurch. The reason peer-to-peer car share companies have seen great success in these cities is due to their dense, suburban populations and people who are beholden to their private vehicles.

YourDrive and Roam both provide online booking, and Roam also has smartphone vehicle access. YourDrive has over 60 vehicles available to rent, not including private vehicles, across New Zealand. In October 2016 formed a partnership with rental car company, Jucy, to expand its fleet.

Australian Ride hailing Market

The Australian ridehailing market has been dominated by Uber since the company’s entry in October 2012. Citizens have many choices when it comes to ride hailing: Shofer, Taxify, GoCatch, GoFetch and Shebah. However, Uber’s first serious competition was Ola, India’s largest ride-hailing company in March 2018, followed by DiDi in April 2018.

While competition between car share providers is appealing for their users, it raises questions about the long term sustainability of the industry. Currently none of these companies are making a profit, which means less than appealing working conditions. Taxis were profitable because local governments limited supply.

By the beginning of 2019, the total revenue from ridehailing in Australia was $631 million US and is expected to grow to $824 million US by 2023. However, if these companies do not start to turn a profit and continue to compete with each other and new players entering the market, there could be a market crash within the next few years.

New Zealand Ridehailing Market

The five main ridehail companies currently operating in New Zealand are Uber, Zoomy, Green Cabs, Ola and ihail. Uber is the leader in the market, claiming to have over 300,000 active users in the region and 4,000 drivers.

Local New Zealand governments recognize that it is a safe, reliable and affordable transport alternative. It also creates extra income for the underemployed and job opportunities for the unemployed.

In Auckland, ridehailing compliments local public transport. For instance, 43% of trips start or end with public transit. By improving connectivity across the city, ridesharing also supports local economic activity. Ridehailing encourages people to travel to areas previously inaccessible by public transport, which encourages economic growth of smaller towns and villages.

Across New Zealand, 63 percent of the distance driven involves only the driver; 25 percent involves only one passenger. Ridehailing and carpooling transport models are helping to meaningfully reduce the national environmental footprint and improve traffic congestion.

Australian Bike Sharing

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Australian bikesharing became a viral sensation in September 2017 when more than 40 oBikes were found submerged in the Yarra river. The bike-sharing company, oBike launched in Melbourne in June, 2017 before expanding to Sydney in October, 2017. In both areas there were continued complaints of bike vandalism and theft, leaving oBikes with no choice but to pull out of Australia as well as bikeshare company, Ofo.

Despite this controversial beginning to bike sharing schemes in Australia, Lime, launched 300 electric-assisted bikes in Sydney in November, 2018. Chinese company Mobike also continues to operate shared bikes in Sydney and the Gold Coast with over 2,000 bikes available to its users.

New Zealand Bike Sharing

Bikeshare company, Onzo literally launched overnight in Auckland back in October, 2017 without a license to operate. It surprised and confused Auckland citizens and local government but the gamble paid off and the were granted a trial that ran through to February 2018. By May 2018, Onzo claimed to have 13,000 active users with a total of 62,000 trips taken.

Onzo also launched in Wellington in October 2017 and had a successful first week with over 6,000 cyclists signing up in the first week. However, even though there is high interest in bikesharing schemes in the region, the only other company in operation is Nextbike, located in Auckland and Christchurch.

The latest trend in micro mobility, scooter sharing can be found within the region though. Lime launched 1,000 e-scooters in Auckland and 700 in Christchurch back in October 2018. At the same time Onzo released their own e-scooters into the streets of Auckland. An initial order 500 followed by a further 2000 in the coming months.

Autonomous Vehicles: Australia

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According to industry estimates, by 2020, the autonomous vehicle market will be worth $87 billion US. Furthermore, by 2040, it is predicted that four out of every 10 vehicles on the road will be autonomous. Perth was one of the first cities in the world to trial driverless on-demand car, with a prototype manufactured by NAVYA by in September, 2018.

Others regions within Australia are all working on separate projects that test autonomous vehicle technology. South Australia, which was the first state to showcase automated technology, in a 2015 trial with Volvo featuring automated software. The Northern Territory is also trialling an automated, electric bus on the Darwin Waterfront Precinct. It is moving people to and from restaurants and shops in the area.

New Zealand: Autonomous Vehicles

A 2014 Automobile Association survey found that New Zealand AA members were more comfortable with AV technology being limited to public transport. However, AV technology is close to becoming a reality on our roads, so driverless cars could be tested in Christchurch’s red zone. According to the NZ Transport Agency, the roads in the red-zoned suburb of Bexley are the best place for AV testing. The scheme is still in its early stages. It aims to attract private companies and turn Christchurch into a world leading area for next generation vehicles.

Is there another region you’d like to see covered in our Shared Mobility by Region series? We will be sharing one article every month covering a new region, and would love to hear your feedback and input here.

Note: This article has not been endorsed or sponsored by any of the providers mentioned and there is no affiliation between movmi and them.

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