Saturday, December 1, 2012

Car Clubs

One of the problems with the country’s transport system is that non-car owners find some journeys difficult or impossible when just the options of walking, cycling and public transport are on offer. However, once a car has been purchased, it tends to be used for all journeys regardless of other transport choices on offer. This causes more congestion, adds to global warming and exacerbates air pollution in cities.

Car clubs offer a solution to all of these problems, and the good news is that there are lots of car clubs springing up all over the country right now - some are private sector schemes whilst a number are run by public sector bodies like councils. Sheffield launched a car club in September 2006.

The basic idea of the club is that you pay a one-off refundable deposit of around £100. As a member you are then entitled to hire out a car immediately or several months in advance by phone, internet or by visiting the car club office in person. The cars are located within a short walking distance from the population they serve so there’s no difficulty accessing the car.  Once in the car, your account is charged a small sum of money based on the time spent occupying the car and the mileage. Most clubs follow this formula but all differ subtly.

Gone are the days of paying for a car and the expenses of running it which can cost  a typical motorist over £3,000 a year (finance cost, depreciation, tax, MOT, petrol, servicing, repairs, and parking). Most car clubs can save around £1,000 - £1,500 if you travel less than 6,000 miles each year.

Environmental Benefits

Reduced congestion
Studies show that car club members drive fewer miles per year than before joining. This isn't surprising when you consider that the cost of each car journey is more obvious; it is easy to 'forget' the garage and insurance bills when using a private car, and to think of the cost of each journey in terms of the petrol alone. So car club members tend to walk more frequently and use public transport more than the average city dweller.

Less Cars on the Roads
Case studies also show that for each car club vehicle made available, at least five people will sell (or scrap) their existing cars.

Parking & Land Used
Car clubs can enable higher density residential and commercial development by reducing the number of on-site parking spaces, and maximising the available land for usable space. This can be achieved without compromising mobility, provided that a long-term commitment to the delivery of the car club can be secured.

Improves Public Transport
Car club members are more likely to use other forms of transport compared to those who own cars and do not use car clubs. This pattern of travel activity reduces traffic volumes, and increases the demand for, and viability of, alternative transport networks – to the benefit of all transport users.
See for more details

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