Car share pilot program

‘Car Sharing’ is a concept that has taken the world by storm and is operating in more than 600 cities around the world. Since its inception in Australia 15 years ago, there are now more than 66,000 car share users accessing 1,200 vehicles.

Council is interested in what is referred to as ‘traditional’ car sharing.  Traditional car sharing provides users with access to cars that are owned by a car sharing company.  These companies manage the ‘sharing’ or ‘hiring’ platform and take care of all the ancillary costs of each vehicle including registration, insurance, maintenance, and even petrol.

Council is initiating a 12-month car share pilot in the Byron Shire later in the year (2019).  The purpose of the pilot is to test the market and feasibility of offering a car-sharing service here in our Shire.

At its Planning meeting in February 2019 Council selected a car share operator to occupy ten designated car share bays in the Shire. The bays are expected to be marked and signage installed in the coming months.


Further information on how to access the share cars will be provided shortly. If you have any questions, please contact Council Planner Sam Tarrant.

Watch this quick graphic video, created by the City of Port Phillip Council in Victoria, for a quick (1 minute) summary of the concept of car sharing.

Thanks to the City of Port Phillip for sharing this video.


Key benefits of Car Sharing:

  • Access: Cars can be hired for hours or day/s, on demand, as needed.  This makes car sharing a great option for people who need a car (or a second or third car) on occasions, just a few times a week or sporadically.
  • Affordability: Provides an alternative and potentially more affordable vehicle option for residents.
  • Reduced environmental footprint:  For every car-share vehicle used, 10 vehicles are taken off the road and so car sharing could help Council in its aim to reduce emissions.
  • Reduced traffic on the road: Good for the environment, produces less congested town centres and is better for the long-term health and wellbeing of residents.
  • Alignment with autonomous future of driving and on-demand services that are growing around the world, while car production is slowing.  

Traditional car sharing is defined as an arrangement in which a number of vehicles, collectively owned by an organisation, are made available to the organisation’s members via a membership system and small rental usage fees.  It is a model of 24/7 car rental where different people are able to use the same car, but at different times using increasingly sophisticated booking systems and real-time technology platforms.  

Reserving a car is usually done via an app, online or over the phone. Once logged in, users can see the locations of all available car sharing vehicles available. Access to the cars is keyless. Users normally use their smartphones or are given an access code.  Inside the car, you will find the key and you’ll be ready to go.  This means users can collect and return the car without having to visit a rental office. 

Car sharing refers to the system whereby a ‘user’ books a time slot to rent a car, which is available at a nominated ‘bay’, or car parking space, which is ‘leased by arrangement’ by the local council and managed by the car sharing company.  Under the majority of car share platforms, users can book a car for a minimum of one hour, or a maximum of a few days. 

Councils with car sharing services work with the car share provider on the location of car parking spaces and manage any impacts and issues that may arise. Designated car spaces are normally arranged to be mutually beneficial to car share users, the car share provider and Council.

At this point in time the locations for car sharing bays in Byron Bay has not been finalised. It is expected that there will be ten car share bays between Byron Bay and Mullumbimby during the pilot.

The concept of car sharing is attractive to various types of customers such as those who cannot afford to buy and maintain a car (or just view cars as a poor investment), people who want to reduce their car use and carbon footprint, people who only need occasional access to a vehicle, workers making use of a car pool and others who would like occasional access to a vehicle of a different type than they use day-to-day (such as a utility or a van). 


Car pooling is where many people travel to a set destination in the same car.  This is the service currently provided by the Northern Rivers Car Pool scheme. The Northern Rivers Car Pool invites its members to book ride shares to a particular shared destination.


Peer-to-peer car share services enable users to “borrow cars from real people”.  If you have a car that sits idle for blocks of time, you can sign up with a peer-to-peer car sharing company or platform operating in your locality (subject to a number of eligibility criteria) and start making money from hiring your car out to other users on an hourly basis.  There are no peer-to-peer services currently operating in the Byron Shire.  This is another service for Byron Shire Council to explore during its trial and future research of the benefits of car sharing.


Council is interested in enabling car sharing and is undertaking a trial to test a car share service in the Shire.  Our community is renowned for its commitment to sustainability initiatives and has expressed an interest in reducing congestion and car use in our major townships (particularly Byron Bay).

Enabling a car share provider to operate in the Shire is one way Council can contribute to less congestion within our townships, in the long-term. It is also a way we can work towards our Zero Emissions Byron targets.

We will keep you up-to-date on the trial process in the coming months.