October 23, 2014 6:08 pm
Updated: October 23, 2014 9:04 pm

Edmonton’s first car-share service launches Thursday

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Watch above: Drivers who need a reliable ride to cover a short distance have a new option in Edmonton. Laurel Gregory has more on the city’s first car-share program.

EDMONTON – Edmonton’s first car-share program – POGO CarShare – was officially launched Thursday.

At the launch, POGO said it plans to have 150 vehicles available in Edmonton in one year.

POGO CarShare will provide members with 24/7 access to a vehicle from one of several public parking spots within “The Zone”, which is made up of the downtown core, Oliver, Old Strathcona and University of Alberta areas.

Members can use an app (Apple or Android) or the company’s website to find cars — primarily hatchbacks — within the zone. Vehicles are unlocked using a membership card or key fob, and users enter a PIN to access the vehicle’s keys.

Vehicles can be taken out of The Zone, but must be returned within it or else the driver will continue to be charged.

The Zone includes the downtown core, Oliver, Old Strathcona, and university areas.

Credit: Pogo

Drivers are charged on their credit cards for the time they use. Fees begin by the minute, and can go up to a daily rate. Vehicles driven over 200 kilometres are charged extra. The fees include insurance and fuel. Cars come with a gas card in case the tank gets low. pogo-fees-small   The company is marketing the service both for quick trips within the city, and extended ones like weekend vacations to the mountains. The service officially launched in Edmonton on Thursday afternoon. Mayor Don Iveson was there.

POGO isn’t the only company hoping to introduce new ways of getting around Edmonton.

Officials from  Uber – an app that matches passengers with drivers – visited Edmonton earlier this year to find out more about the city’s “vehicle for hire” bylaw.

WATCH: Could the online ride-sharing service Uber be coming to Edmonton?

Iveson thinks the service could potentially ease some transportation issues here but stresses safety and security standards must be met.

Uber customers request and pay for a drive using their smartphones. Drivers use their own vehicles, which has prompted concerns about unregulated operators.

Iveson asked for an inquiry into Uber, saying while he wants to better-serve citizens, ‘safety’ is a primary concern.

“I want to get a clean report that explains to citizens why we have a vehicle for hire bylaw, why we regulate the taxi industry,” he said.

“It’s because the people that drive cabs are subjected to criminal record checks , it’s because their vehicles are insured and have to maintain certain level of maintenance so that they know that they’re safe.”

The city is currently doing a full-scale review of the transportation system and taxi service. In September Iveson said he believed the best solution would be a better late-night transit system.

More to come…

© 2014 Shaw Media

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