South Africa’s first car-sharing service, Locomute, launches in Gauteng next Monday (1 June) with a fleet of 26 Fiat 500Ls. Once users have signed up for the service they can locate and book available vehicles online or via the Locomute mobile app. Users unlock the car using a supplied smart card and can book for a either a round trip or a one way trip. At the end of their journey the user leaves the car in a designated Locomute area for the next user.
CEO Tumi Marope says the service will be available in Gauteng initially but that it expects to roll out in Cape Town in coming months. He says the service is a intended as an “alternative solution to traditional vehicle rentals” and reduces the need for vehicle ownership in metropolitan areas.
Aside from the initial sign-up fee, users pay for the amount of time they spend using the vehicle. Costs like fuel and insurance form part of the usage fee. Locomute’s vehicles can be accessed 24 hours a day as they’re parked in publicly accessible locations.
Prospective users must be at least 18 years old, hold a valid driver’s licence and need to sign up on the company’s website. Once a prospective user has been approved a smart card will be couriered to them, after which they can begin utilising the service.
Marope says Locomute’s target market includes “professionals, those who use the Gautrain, local and international business people, and tourists”.
“We are here to support current infrastructure, we’re not trying to compete against anybody because we believe we’re offering a unique service,” he says. We suspect Uber might disagree. While it doesn’t offer the use of cars directly it’s another technology-powered service that provides an alternative to car ownership.
Locomute will offer Android and iOS mobile apps at launch. Full terms and conditions can be found here.