Car sharing using UK car clubs is becoming an increasingly popular and efficient alternative to owning your own vehicle. They’re environmentally friendly, convenient and a lot less hassle to owning your own car, especially if you drive infrequently or live in a busy city. You may have seen a car club vehicle at the end of your street – so what’s in it for you and how do car sharing schemes work?
What makes UK car clubs so handy?
Let’s face it, it’s nice to have the freedom of your own vehicle, but they’re often more hassle than they’re worth, especially if you live in a big city. Add in the environmental guilt that running a car brings and you’ve got a compelling reason to join a car club. And that’s before you’ve factored in the money savings car clubs in the UK can offer, especially if you’re a low-mileage user.
Estimates from environmental motoring charity Carplus reckon that if you drive less than 8,000 miles per annum you could save up to a whopping £3,500 a year, as you won’t have to worry about the cost and hassle of:
- car tax
- maintenance and servicing
- fuel costs
- parking permits
- depreciation costs
Which all means that car clubs promise loads less expense and paperwork. You also won’t have to take out a hefty loan to pay for a new motor every few years. The other major plus for car clubs is their flexibility:
- pick up a car as and when you need it
- pay for a long as you need the car for
- unlike public transport, you can decide exactly where and when you want to go
Environmental benefits of UK car clubs
So UK car clubs are convenient and can save you bags of cash, but of course another big reason for joining is their green credentials. Joining a car club is much better for the environment than owning your own vehicle.
Car clubs reduce the number of vehicles on the road – it’s reckoned that each car club takes around 25 cars off the road, as many members sell their vehicles when they join. What’s more, many UK car clubs also offer environmentally friendly cars, so you’ll be producing less emissions and motoring in a much more efficient way.
Car club members in the UK also often drive less after joining, swapping the school run for a school walk, or maybe taking to two wheels to make shorter journeys by bicycle – good for the environment and healthy too.
How UK car clubs work
Becoming a member of a car club means you can book one of the club’s vehicles, and pick it up from a designated parking space near your work or home. The cars can generally be booked online or over the phone to be picked up at a specific time and location – usually within a 10 to 15-minute walk from you.
You pay for how long you use the vehicle – you might just need it for an hour or two, or could book for a set period like a day or weekend. There will probably be a free mileage limit – if you go over this you’ll generally be charged extra per mile. Once you’ve finished with the vehicle just return it to its designated parking spot and you’re done.
To join the scheme you’ll need to pay a deposit or annual membership, choose an insurance option and have your license checked out. Once your membership is confirmed you’ll receive a membership swipe card and PIN number to access and operate the scheme’s vehicles. It’s as simple as that.
London car clubs
Car clubs are an obvious choice if you live in London. The average car-owning Londoner only uses their vehicles for 3.5 hours each week, according to research from transport charity Carplus. So the smart motorists are ditching their autos and opting for a car-sharing scheme for the occasions when they do need wheels.