You know the feeling, Christmas Day has come and gone, you’ve eaten way too much, watched endless movies and the cabin fever starts to kick in. This was us on Boxing Day (December 26th) lolling around our apartment in Malta.
Thankfully, the bright sunshine was inviting us to get out into the great outdoors and walk off some of that Christmas indulgence. We knew we wanted to take a long walk somewhere nice and breathe some fresh mediterranean sea air but where to go? And more pressingly, how to get there?
With not owning our own car and Maltese public transport being notoriously unreliable, up steps GOTO Malta to save the day!
It’s an Electric Car Sharing Scheme which I (Charlie) had signed up to several weeks earlier. They have a large fleet of electric cars scattered across Malta and Gozo which you can jump into and drive once you’ve registered.
Just the ticket.
Għajn Tuffieħa, Here We Come
We’d decided to head to the opposite coast for a wander amongst the greenery and moonscape around Għajn Tuffieħa bay. It’s our top spot to get away from it all on the bustling island of Malta ever since our first visit there back in 2015, great for nature and some informal rock climbing.
So, I loaded up the GOTO app and found a car available a couple of streets away from our Swieqi apartment. I clicked on ‘reserve’ and that gave us 15 leisurely minutes to get ourselves together and locate the car. This meant that no other users could swoop in and take our precious ride.
Once at the car, the in-app damage report submitted, we pulled away as quietly as a mouse in the super sleek Renault Zoe. We were soon heading along the coast road, feeling a little refreshed already with the automatic car responding to the slightest touch on the accelerator.
Twenty or so minutes later we pulled into the dedicated parking spot close to the bay, finishing that part of our journey with one click of the app and we were good to go for a hike. This was just what we needed and the ideal way to fart out the lethal combination of sprout bake, roast veggies and Christmas pudding contained within.
After a good couple of hours of exploration, covering most of the massive rocky outcrop which separates Riviera Beach from neighbouring Gnejna, it was time to return home.
Our car, No. 60, was still exactly where we had left it which was a welcome relief. If you did want to use GOTO and keep the car reserved whilst you head off and explore, there is a handy ‘Stop Over’ option you can for €0.14 per minute but this time we opted not to.
A couple of taps of the dedicated app later and the car was unlocked and we were good to go again. A couple of locals stared at us suspiciously as we jumped into the vehicle with no keys in sight, they must think it’s witchcraft.
One push of the stop-start button and the charming driver display burst into life to inform me there was still a good 55km of charge left in our Zoe, more than enough for her to deliver us home.
After a couple of stops along the way to grab the action shots for this post, we were home once more. The whole process of jumping in, driving and parking seemed so hassle free that if it hadn’t been for the sand on our shoes we could have almost forgotten that we’d been anywhere.
How Can I Sign Up and Start Driving?
If you’d like to give GOTO a try then just visit the website or download the app and click ‘Join’. After simple signup and verification process, this takes less than 24 hours, you are good to go.
There are hundreds of designated parking spots across Malta and Gozo when you can simply drop the car and finish your journey. The service is charged by the minute and there’s no shifty car rental agreements or agents to deal with. Bonus.
What are the Cars Like?
Honestly, they are a total dream to drive. If you have never driven an electric car before, it is going to be a lovely surprise to find how smooth and quiet they are as you navigate your way around the island.
Plus, they are charged when not in use so there’s no more smelly rip off petrol stations to deal with. Hooray.
How Much Does GOTO Car Hire Cost?
The pricing has been kept super simple to keep in line with similar schemes across Europe.
Membership – €7 per month (currently the first 2 months free) – cancel any time.
Usage – €0.28 per minute. This covers all of your insurance, road licence tax, Valletta CVA fees, charging and parking costs.
Stopover – €0.14 per minute – if you want to keep the car ‘on hold’ when you park up and explore.
Saving package – €99 per month – you get 400 minutes of driving time with the membership fee included.
Tourist Prepaid Package – €42 in advance – includes 150 minutes of driving time valid for 14 days.
Who Is the Service Suited To?
The basic ‘pay per minute’ service operates as a simple point-to-point scheme for users to take a single journey for €0.28 per minute. This works well if you want to get somewhere else in Malta but don’t want to deal with overcrowded buses, pricey taxis and parking hassles.
To calculate if the service is going to be a good fit for you, use google maps to get an idea of the distances you’ll need to cover to visit the places you want to. Do bear in mind that the traffic in Malta can get pretty heavy at peak times so being charged by the minute can quickly become a downside to the service.
However, if you want to tour the Maltese islands at your leisure then using the GOTO tourist package could be a better fit. With just over 2 hours of driving time built in and the attractions in Malta and Gozo not being far apart, this could cover you quite well.
Disclaimer: GOTO Malta provided us with 120 minutes of drive time to experience their service over the Christmas holidays but had no input into the content of thid post.