The Early Days of Pogo CarShare

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Bringing carsharing to a new city takes understanding of the local mobility culture. Pogo has proven that by understanding the needs of the people and building out new features over time, that carsharing can become a reliable transportation option.

carsharing startup

Launched in 2014, Pogo CarShare continues to be Edmonton’s signature carsharing service. As the forerunner in introducing carsharing to locals, Pogo is responsible for shaping consumers’ mobility behaviour and being an influential force of change. This is a challenge Pogo has gladly embraced as a player in the shared mobility industry.

The Beginning

Like many entrepreneurial ideas, the birth of Pogo came from identifying an unmet need in the marketplace. Edmonton is a car-dependent city that has been yearning for the growth of alternative transportation options, with plans to expand the light-rail transit system and add dedicated bike lanes. After multiple trips to cities like Calgary and Vancouver, Kieran Ryan and his co-founders knew a carsharing service was needed.

It was important for Ryan to offer a service that was shaped around local needs. Being born and raised in Edmonton, Ryan understood first-hand the areas that should be serviced to build a foundation for carsharing.

“Transportation is changing dramatically, and carsharing is part of that change. Using alternative, new, and public forms of transit is greatly enhanced by having access to a vehicle when you need it.  Carsharing is part of the new transportation economy.”

Carsharing is an asset to any city because of its ability to provide first and last mile accessibility. Specifically, free-floating carsharing services like Pogo supplement existing transportation options like public transportation or even walking. When the distance from point A to point B is not fully covered by the bus network or it is not reasonable to walk the entire distance, carsharing can fill that gap.

This is reflected in the organization’s name – Pogo. “A pogo stick was a toy we used as kids to bounce around. The concept is the same in free-floating carsharing – you ‘bounce’ from place to place.”

Accomplishments So Far

Pogo recently celebrated its third birthday with its 7,500 members. Ryan is proud of the accomplishments made within these years, and credits the success to the progressive environment the city is currently experiencing.

However, growth is not about to end anytime soon. Pogo continues to work on creating a seamless user experience, adding more cars to the fleet, and identifying new areas to expand. “Although the company has grown considerably since launching, our core mission remains the same – to provide new and better ways to get around.”

From what we have seen, Pogo is on the right path to success. Pogo does not limit themselves to following carsharing best practices, but instead uses it as inspiration to be even better. Pogo understands the need to grow along changing consumer demands, and with that, they have identified opportunities to expand their service offering.

Most importantly, Pogo only began developing complementary service features when the core of their business was seamless and well-adapted in the marketplace. This approach allowed them to gain the support they needed when launching new options like “Front Door Service”, which gives members the opportunity to have a vehicle dropped off at a convenient location. Pogo is also currently beta testing a “Monthly Plan” offer, which provides unlimited trips when paying a monthly subscription fee.

carsharing startup
The Future

With today’s technology, so much is possible in terms of innovation. From making data-driven decisions to developing new service features, companies like Pogo are in a good position to find new ways to improve.

There is no shortage of ideas coming from Pogo, and we look forward to seeing their plans develop as they continue to grow in the carsharing space. Pogo is creating a strong foundation for other shared mobility services to thrive in the city while also raising the bar in what should be expected in a carshare globally.

Update: Pogo Carshare is now Communauto Alberta.

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