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Carsharing scheme Shyft sets sights on Wellington launch

Car-sharing scheme Cityhop may soon have competition from Shyft in Wellington.

A crowdfunding campaign is underway to get Shyft off the ground; up to $10,000 will be matched through Wellington City Council’s first Smart Energy Challenge, which hopes to support community-led projects designed to reduce emissions. (The team also hopes to attract investment from partners and angel investors to scale up its model in other cities.) Shyft plans to install the first car in the community that pledges the most.

Early adopters are projected to be 22-35 year old central city dwellers without a car, or with only one car.

“They’ll want the mobility or the cost savings, but they’ll be open enough to changes in lifestyle to see the value,” co-founder Erik Zydervelt, an environmental science graduate, says.

Cityhop, which has three cars in Wellington, has some problems, he says, including a lack of buy-in.

Shyft has the support of Snapper and Cycle Advocates Network, as well as Modo – the Vancouver Car Coop – and Opencar networks to provide the technology.

Snapper chief executive Miki Szikszai says the idea of starting small, adapting what has been successful in other cities, learning what Wellingtonians need and then growing from there makes good sense.

“We think Snapper hits the sweetspot for Shyft- fast, reliable micropayments and over 250,000 cards on issue in Wellington. 

Co-founder Tom Pettit, a former management consultant with expertise in transport economics, says Shyft will place a variety of shared cars around the city – utes, sedans, hatchbacks, even luxury cars.

“Users need to be in walking or biking distance of the cars, but that isn’t a problem in Wellington. 11,000 households in Wellington city don’t have a car at all. Only 42 percent of households commute by car, though 80 percent of households own a car. That leaves a significant amount of cars that sit unused for most of the week, while still costing their owners money.”

The numbers

Shyft will cost roughly $15 an hour plus a small annual account fee.

It needs 40 members per car to cover the car’s costs, and 60 to be profitable.

Shyft says about 100 Wellingtonians are already lining up to be customers.

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