Enterprise has been selected as the car rental partner for the GO-HI mobility as a service (MaaS) project in the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland.
The Highlands and Islands region includes 12 on-street Enterprise Car Club vehicles available for automated, on-demand rental by the hour or day across seven locations, as well as three Enterprise Rent-A-Car branches that can provide travellers and residents with access to a variety of cars and vans.
People will be able to book Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Enterprise Car Club vehicles through the GO-HI app, as well as access other shared transport options across the region.
The GO-HI app provides users with access to information on buses, trains, taxis, car hire, car clubs, bicycle hire, air travel and ferries, allowing users to plan journeys and book and pay for all modes of transport using an iOS or Android mobile device.
Oz Choudhri, head of MaaS at Enterprise, said: “We are delighted to be the preferred supplier of car hire and car club services for this exciting and innovative project.
“Our car club vehicles and rental branches in the region will enable people to easily switch between different modes of transport.
“The GO-HI project offers a blueprint for other regions and demonstrates how shared mobility can benefit rural as well as urban communities.”
The app is produced by HITRANS, the regional transport partnership, in association with the Mobilleo MaaS platform.
Project partners also include Bewegen, Brompton Bike Hire, Stagecoach Bus, West Coast Motors, Inverness Taxis, ScotRail, Loganair, Shotl, Skedgo, Orkney Ferries and Northlink Ferries.
Ranald Robertson, director at HITRANS, said: “Enterprise is a key partner for this pioneering project. We are striving to improve accessibility for residents and visitors and reduce carbon emissions by encouraging a modal shift from sole occupancy cars to shared cars and public transport alternatives.
“Rental and car clubs form an important part of any sustainable travel mix and Enterprise has the network of branches and vehicles to ensure people have access to a safe, modern and regularly sanitised car when they need one.”
Pictured: Highland councillor and HITRANS chairman, Allan Henderson using the GO-HI app in Fort William, Scotland.
Ross Basnett, strategic account director at Mobilleo, said: “We’ve been working closely with HITRANS to develop a solution that addresses the mobility challenges faced by residents, tourists and business travellers in some of Scotland’s most rural areas.
“The GO-HI app seamlessly integrates various transport services in and around the area, allowing easier access to travel information, more reliable journey planning, in-app ticketing and a hassle-free payment system.
"These improvements should give people the confidence to use public transport and reduce the feeling of isolation among those without access to a car.”
GO-HI is funded by the EU North Sea Region Stronger Combined project and the Scottish Government’s MaaS Investment Fund.
The MaaS Investment Fund has been established by Transport Scotland to help improve accessibility to public transport services for residents and tourists in the country’s most rural and sparsely populated region.
The Scottish minister for transport, Graeme Dey said: “The Scottish Government sees great potential in the future of Mobility as a Service and a real opportunity for Scotland to be at the forefront of developments. That’s why in 2018, our Programme for Government committed to establish the MaaS Investment Fund.
“Much has changed since 2018, but as we think about the urgent need for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the potential of MaaS solutions in Scottish transport is perhaps more important than ever before.
“MaaS applications can directly support our vision for a more sustainable transport system as outlined in our National Transport Strategy, in addition to the bold commitments we’ve made through our updated Climate Change Plan.
“By creating new partnerships between the public and private sectors to focus on collaborative solutions to complex transport problems, I’m excited to see how GO-HI transforms the travel experience for residents and visitors to the Highlands and Islands.”
The participating transport providers will be able to access data about the demand for their services to help them better understand the needs of people in the region and to make more informed decisions about the provision of services.
Enterprise has also partnered with the Highland Council to provide car rental options and car clubs for employees, which has resulted in the council reducing its business mileage by more than 800,000 miles in only 12 months and making cost savings in excess of £400,000, Enterprise said.
Enterprise also recently added 30 new electric Renault ZOE cars to its rental fleet in Scotland.
Solutions to boost transport outside cities
The recent Virtual Smart Transport Conference looked at transport provision outside city centres, including a presentation from Ben Lawson on Enterprise's work in the Highlands.
Silviya Barrett, head of policy, research and projects at Campaign for Better Transport, talked about CBT's research on poor connectivity in deprived 'left behind' areas, which highlighted the need for more ‘hyper-local’ investment and for local authorities and communities to work together to address local needs.
Tom Hart, British Gas head of portfolio – energy management and electric vehicles (EVs) explored the issues that need to be overcome to help increase the adoption of EVs in rural and edge of city areas.
All three speakers also took part in live Q&A session.
If you missed the Virtual Smart Transport Conference, you can still catch up with our on-demand service.