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How to get people to ditch their cars. For real.

Thanks to the Cool ridesharing service, reducing congestion across the island of Malta is no longer a far-flung concept. CEO Laura Jasenaite walks us through how to grow a sustainability-focused service that resonates with riders.

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The first things that come to mind when you think of a Mediterranean island nation aren’t exactly traffic or pollution. But Malta is actually among the most congested countries in Europe, with one of the highest rates of cars per capita, according to European Union statistics.

Debono Group set out to break the car ownership habit, working with ViaVan to launch Cool in 2019. The 24/7 service offers both shared and private rides, setting itself apart from the variety of other ride-hailing options thanks to its price, focus on quality of service, and specific positioning as a sustainable alternative, said Laura Jasenaite, Cool’s CEO.

“Most other ride-hailing operators would focus on the occasional user and the tourist while we tried to focus on users who use the service frequently,” she said. “Our end goal is to help improve congestion, to get people to drop their cars and use the Cool service.”

And despite a decline in ridership during the peak of the pandemic, Jasenaite’s views the situation as a net positive for Cool. Residents were able to experience an island free of traffic, reinforcing the service’s core purpose. “People are realizing that a car is becoming a burden rather than a freedom,” Jasenaite added.

More on all things Malta and growing an environmentally-minded service in our latest episode of “The Dispatch.” Take a listen.

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