So what's this car share thing? Live for Less explains how it works, what it costs and if it's a good fit for your Brisbane lifestyle.

Car sharing is an alternative to car ownership. It allows you to live without a car of your own by booking a vehicle by the hour or by the day as you need one.

Car share companies like GoGet have set up pods of cars around Australian cities. Sometimes these pods are integrated with new apartment block developments, such as the 5-Star Green Star West Village development in Brisbane (see below).

Once you’ve signed up for membership, most companies provide an electronic swipe card that enables you to access the car you’ve booked online. There’s often a range of vehicle types to choose from. Car share vehicles have a dedicated parking spot where you return the car at the end of your booking.

Who uses car share? Is it for me?

Car share can be a good option for people in inner city areas where parking for privately owned cars is either unavailable or very expensive. It can also be useful for families who live in the inner city with one car but on odd occasions need two.

Based on its own cost calculations comparing ownership with car share, consumer magazine CHOICE says that car sharing best suits people who:

  • live in the inner areas of one of the capital cities
  • drive less than 5000km a year
  • don’t drive to work
  • are committed to driving less and using alternative modes of transport where possible, e.g. bus, train, cycling and walking.

How does car share allow me to live for less?

In two ways: you’ll save money, and your transport choice will have less environmental impact.

With car share, members can normally choose no monthly fee and only pay when they drive, or pay a monthly fee to reduce their hourly and daily rates.

GoGet estimates that it costs around $650 a month to own and run a car comparable to the vehicle types in their fleet. Most car share customers in Australia will spend between $200-$400 a month, depending on the car share company and your car using habits.  But the principle is the same: you only pay for what you use.

There are also benefits for people wanting to live more sustainably and lower their environmental footprint. CHOICE points to various studies which found that for each shared car on the road, anywhere from four to 13 cars are taken off the road. Less car use means reduced congestion impacts, cleaner air and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. GoGet says an average of over 20 people use each of its cars.

Where can I find a car share pod in Brisbane?

By far the biggest player in Brisbane is GoGet car share and you can find your nearest pod using this map.

You may also want to investigate the alternative known as peer-to peer car sharing such as Car Next Door, which is essentially renting out cars owned by people in your neighborhood.

The first new residential development in Brisbane to embrace the car share concept is West Village in West End, which recently launched the first of what will eventually be a pod of 10 GoGet vehicles including sedans, hatchbacks and SUV’s. The pod will expand as the staged development is completed, and all residents will receive a one year free membership. West Village project director Andrew Thompson says the launch of the GoGet service was part of the development’s commitment to becoming a 5-Star Green Star Community.

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