No more getting wet on a bike or frustrated in case of missing a bus. That is, if you live in Grenoble.
Do you remember that day when you missed the last bus? When it was raining cats and dogs and your only option was to take a bike to your destination? Or when you couldn’t stay at a friend’s party as long as you wanted because you simply had to catch the midnight tram to go home?
What if … in these occasions, you had some kind of vehicle at your disposal that you could simply pick up at some point and drop off elsewhere, ideally keeping you dry in case of rain?
If you’re living in Grenoble, this is no longer a ‘What if’ scenario. Since the end of 2014 Toyota, along with five partners, created Cité Lib by Ha:mo: a car-sharing service with 70 ultra-compact 100% electric vehicles that can be picked up at one of the 27 charging stations spread across the city centre and returned at another. These stations have been strategically located close to tram, bus and train stops allowing those using public transportation to cover the last bit of the trip to the office, shops or a friend’s place in one of the two available vehicles.
Up to you. You can go for the Toyota COMS, which is a 4-wheel one-seater electric vehicle with a trunk. But the most popular vehicle, chosen by six people out of ten, is the Toyota i-ROAD, which is unlike anything you’ve ever tried before. Most people in these colourful, futuristic looking 3-wheelers compare it to skiing, as the car leans over when you corner. It’s also different in the sense that the rear wheel is the steering wheel. Other than that, anyone with a driver’s license can hop on and drive off!
This 3 year trial project is now in its second year. After the first year where the focus was on getting the vehicles and all the charging stations fully operational, the partners now want to attract many more users on top of the current 1,000 subscribed to the service. For some of the highly active users an exclusive ‘Users’ Club’ has been created. For the partners it’s a way to pick up on suggestions they may have, ensuring the service responds even better to their mobility needs.
So far the experience has already given some interesting insights. The average trip is around 5km or 45 minutes, and 75% drops off the vehicle at another station than the original pick-up point. It also confirms one of the key objectives of this whole project: people use it in combination with other forms of transport such as public transportation, walking and cycling (also called ‘multimodality’). There is no particular reason that stands out from the many purposes it’s being used for: running errands, visiting friends and family, commute to work, leisure, an evening out, … And when asked to describe the service, ‘ecological’ and ‘practical’ are the words that come to mind first besides enjoyable, economical, flexible, fast, fun …
Rendez-vous in one and a half year for the final evaluation of this unique experiment!