Filed under: carbon emissions, Environment, Pollution, Transport | Tags: Cardiff, Cardiff Council, Carplus, City Car Club, RAC, Richard Drew, Welsh Assembly Government
There’s a new, greener way to travel in Cardiff and it still involves the car. It’s called the City Car Club.
Based in Leeds, the City Car Club lets you hire a car by the hour in 14 cities across the UK and the scheme arrived in Wales last month.
Cardiff’s City Car Club was launched in partnership with the council and it was officially unveiled on Tuesday, December 7th by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Rodney Berman and Executive Member for Traffic and Transport, Cllr Delme Bowen.
The scheme is being funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, as part of a project to make Cardiff a “sustainable travel city”.
However, it was also public demand, which attracted the City Car Club to Cardiff, as Richard Drew who manages the scheme here explains:
It’s hoped the scheme will reduce pollution and congestion in the city, because research has shown car clubs reduce the number of cars on the road.
The independent charity, Carplus believes “one car club car replaces around 24.5 private cars”, which means the initial delivery of City Car Club vehicles in the city could remove 245 cars from the roads of Cardiff.
Reducing the number of cars on the road isn’t the only environmental benefit of a car club scheme, Carplus also state that car club cars are more environmentally friendly and produce less carbon dioxide than the cars they replace.
At the moment, there are 10 low-emission Ford Fiestas available to hire across the city, with cars located in the City Centre, Cathays, Riverside, Pontcanna and Cardiff Bay. However, two more locations are due to open soon:
Every car available through the scheme is fully maintained and comprehensively insured by the City Car Club and each location has a space permanently reserved for the vehicle, so users should not have a problem parking at the end of their hire period.
But are these perks enough to make people sell their cars and join the scheme?
Heather, aged 49 from Cardiff: “I’m not a particularly confident driver, so I’m only happy driving my car. I’m used to driving it.”
Daniel, aged 29 from Newport: “I don’t come into Cardiff that often, so it’s unlikely I’d use one here, but I might if they were in Newport”
Mike, aged 46 from Cardiff: “I would have to look into it a bit more, find out about the cost and how the insurance works, things like that, but I’ll definitely look into it”
Only people who have paid a membership fee of £50 for the scheme and have received a smart membership card can gain access to the cars, as Richard Drew told Welsh Green Dragon:
The hourly cost of using a car club scheme can even be cheaper than owning a car, which means the benefits are not purely environmental, they are also economical.
Research conducted by the RAC last year suggests that car clubs are more financially beneficial for those who drive less than 8000 miles per year, while Carplus say those who drive less than 6000 miles a year can save £3500 a year by using a car club.
However, the scheme isn’t available to everyone in Cardiff with a driving licence:
- Under 19 years olds cannot join the club.
- Drivers who have held their driving license for less than 12 months are not permitted.
- Members aged 19 or 20 years old have to pay £10 per month (in addition to the £50 annual membership fee) to cover higher insurance premiums.
- Drivers with more than six points on their license may not be eligible (This is checked during the application process)
The City Car Club isn’t the first pay-as-you-go travel scheme to launch in Cardiff. Back in September 2009, OYBike launched in Cardiff allowing people to hire one of 70 pedal bikes from 10 locations around the city.
Filed under: carbon emissions, Fuel, Future Thinking, Transport | Tags: Car Clubs, Car Pollution, Car sharing, Cardiff County Council, Cardiff's Sustainable Travel Plan, City Car Club, Energy Efficient Mobility, Gwenllian Lansdown, Ieuan Wyn Jones Transport Minister, Plaid Cymru
This is part of Cardiff’s wider Sustainable Travel Plan which, if all goes well, will be implemented in other parts of Wales. The Council has already developed green alternatives that aim to cut down on cars, such as park and ride schemes, improving cycling facilities, and a drive to work car share scheme. They also plan to launch a new car club next year, to encourage people to rent out a vehicle instead of owning their own.
Hopefully the public will be inspired to take up a car diet for their New Years resolution. Less cars will mean a reduction in problems such as traffic, parking and of course the big greasy beast that is pollution, making the city a more sustainable and enjoyable place to live.
Cardiff’s sustainable travel plan
Ieuan Wyn Jones, Transport Minister says, “Commuter levels in and around Cardiff have increased significantly over the past few years. This is an exciting opportunity to develop and implement a range of innovative transport solutions which will benefit the 210,000 people who travel into the city on a daily basis.”
Executive Minister for Transport, Delme Bowen expands on car sharing and car club schemes:
Cardiff Council is currently in the process of awarding a contract for an operator to run a car club in Cardiff. It is hoped that car clubs will encourage residents to rent instead of buying their own vehicle. “A car club, along with car sharing, helps to promote choice and the greater use of sustainable modes of travel.” say Cardiff Council.
Scientific studies and customer surveys have provided substantial evidence that car clubs can help cut down on toxic output. More Options for Energy Efficient Mobility through Car Sharing (MOMO) have provided a paper bursting with the advantages of car hire.
The club scheme does not only yield green benefits – it is also hugely cost-effective for users. People will cut down on the high annual cost of tax and insurance, with the car company responsible for overall maintenance.
“The car sharing scheme is part of the answer to dealing with Cardiff’s congestion problem and provides people living in Cardiff with another option for how they go about their daily business.” says Gwenllian Lansdown, a Plyd Cymru Councillor who backed an 100-strong signature petition last year, urging the city council to support such a car club scheme. “This scheme has proved successful in other cities across the globe and I look forward to it starting in Cardiff” says Landsdown.
A chosen car company will operate their rental service on behalf of the Council. If the scheme is successful, the contract will be renewed. Richard Drew, the South West Manager of City Car Club, is currently responsible for the plans in Cardiff.”We’ve been informed that we’ve been the most successful bidder but they haven’t made a final decision to say that we’re definitely going to go ahead yet” he explains.
The clubs would be aimed at people who would consider buying a second car, or those who are not completely dependent on having one. Users would pay a one off membership fee of around £75 and then they would pay around £3 an hour for car hire.
“If all goes well, we’re looking to start the early part of spring next
year.” Drew said last December. Before then, the company will need to decide where to base their cars. Drew explained, “what we’d be looking for in the first instance is people that know the area well that can suggest places where there’s real issues with parking.”
So how is the public responding to the Council’s Sustainable travel plan? “Feedback has been good so far, and car sharing generally is increasing. In Cardiff County Council alone there’s 18,000 people both recycling and car sharing. That’s looking good.” says Delme Bowen.
It looks like car slimming plans are running smoothly. Let’s hope the city won’t crash diet but will maintain a regular slimming regime, with healthy portions of sharing and regular car club rental.
Extreme car sharing: