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Seniors are ditching the cost of vehicle ownership for car share apps

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Car share company GoGet is seeing a trend of seniors ditching their own vehicles in favour of car sharing.

According to GoGet research, the number of seniors in Victoria signing up to the car share company has surged by 43% last year, particularly in areas like the CBD, Southbank and South Wharf, and Fitzroy North; a total of 4750 seniors were using a variety of vehicles including vans, SUVs, hatchbacks and convertibles.

GoGet is seeing this trend across Australia, in NSW there was a 32.6% increase in seniors' car share use, Queensland rose by 60.5%, SA by 33.3% and ACT by 32.4%.

seniors carshare

With the cost of owning a private vehicle averaging $6000 per year between registration, fuel, insurance, repayments, and maintenance, it is a marked expense.

Justin Passaportis, GoGet General Manager Victoria, says it's becoming increasingly difficult for many people to justify owning a car.

"Vehicles are your second most expensive asset after your home," Passaportis says. "For an asset that's unused most of the time it's an expense many are looking to shed.

"Increasingly, we're seeing a trend of seniors joining GoGet as they seek to cut costs without sacrificing independence.

"As people approach retirement age, budgets tighten and many look to cut back on non-essentials. With the high ongoing cost of owning a vehicle, it is often one of the first things to go."

Bruce Sims, 71, of Abbotsford, Victoria, was an early adopter of car sharing.

"It was relatively new and we found it worked very, very well. We have a car about a block away from us and the cost is certainly well below owning a car," Sims says.

"The primary reason we started using a car share service 12-13 years ago was because we live in the inner city and the parking is very difficult. Public transport is so good that you rarely need to use a car except for shopping or going away for the weekend.

"I was finding that when we had a car I'd have to go out and start the engine in the middle of the week to make sure the battery didn't go flat."

According to Sims, another car share advantage is that the car is fairly new because they're replaced quite often.

The GoGet Seniors Plan has no joining or ongoing monthly fees and free fuel is included with every membership.

CEO and director of research for National Seniors Association Professor John McCallum says the association has been doing a lot of work on digital literacy and the majority of people in his group are on Facebook, internet banking, email, and searches - the normal things. "There's a proportion of people addicted to their car but there are also people probably up on car share. It's a great idea for older people not to have the worry of a car if it's not necessary and to be able to have the economy of that to fit a nice financial plan and spend money on better things."

Other car share options include Popcar, Flexicar, Car Next Door and DriveMyCar.

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Julia Newbould is a financial writer and commentator with a background in journalism. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.
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