The Tel Aviv municipality today convened a press conference and presented a plan for a carsharing venture, to be called Autotel. The service will be available to Tel Aviv residents and visitors. The venture will be operated by a franchise holder - Car2Go. 260 cars will be distributed around the city. Subscribers can rent the service and pay by the minute.
The service will be ordered through a special app that will display to the subscribers a list of the available vehicles close to him, and enable him to order a car up to 15 minutes in advance. Monthly subscriber fees will be NIS 40-50. The per-minute rate has not yet been set, but the municipality said that it would be 30-40% cheaper than taxi rates. Any Israeli resident can register for the service, as can tourists, but Tel Aviv residents carrying a digital card will receive a discount on the usage fees.
Subscribers will receive an electronic card that will open the cars. Another option is to type a code in the app. The car can be taken from where it is parked and parked at a another location in the city, in contrast to current carsharing ventures, which require that the vehicle be returned to the location from which it was taken.
The municipality will allocate 520 special parking spaces, and the cars will also be allowed to park in space on the city streets with blue and white markings, even in space reserved to people living on the street.
A telephone assistance center will operate 24 hours a day to handle any technical problems with the service or the cars. The service will be available in Hebrew and English, but not in Arabic at this stage.
"It is already impossible for each person to own a car and drive it to where he is going, and everyone already realizes that alternatives must be put in operation that will provide people with mobility through other means of transportation," Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said today.
He added, "The Autotel project solves a national problem. It should have been a nationwide measure in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport, but unfortunately, the responsible ministers are not here with me. I hope that the same thing will happen here that happened in the case of Tel-O-Fun (the Tel Aviv bicycle sharing service inaugurated seven years ago, which has been adopted in Givatayim, Ramat Gan, and Bat Yam), when Tel Aviv showed the way and other cities followed suit."
The municipality regards the venture as a complementary service to the existing public transportation, because it is "especially needed in Israel, where public transportation is completely shut down 20% of the time," as Huldai put it.
The municipality will spend NIS 10 million a year on the venture for 10 years. Insofar as the venture is more successful and has more subscribers using it more times, this subsidy can be reduced. If the venture does not measure up to expectations, the municipality is willing to increase the subsidy for its operation to NIS 150 million over the next 10 years.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 16, 2017
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