THE spread of car clubs beyond the limits of cities is being heralded as a ideal way to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions and improve air quality.
Car clubs, where drivers pay a membership fee to access a local fleet of both cars and vans on an hourly rental basis, has blossomed in big cities as the financial squeeze on wages and availability of public transport persuade increasing numbers of people away from car ownership.
Now transport minister Baroness Kramer has announced funding will be available to extend the car club programme out to rural areas, through a scheme administered by the environmental transport non-government organisation, Carplus.
Chief executive of Carplus, Chas Ball welcomed the announcement, saying: “Car clubs are well established in London and are showing strong growth in some other cities.
“They have demonstrated a strong track record in reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality. This is an exciting opportunity to expand this success and establish and grow car clubs in towns, cities and rural areas across in England.”
This project will fund three area demonstration projects in England to:
- Expand an existing car club to meet the potential market in a town or city;
- Establish a new car club in a city, town or county;
- Develop better links between public transport and shared transport – including car clubs – to make travelling simple without owning a car.
In addition, Carplus will manage a Car Club Challenge Fund providing smaller grants to help kickstart or expand projects in small towns and rural areas.
It will also fund projects that aim to improve integration between car clubs and other ‘shared mobility’ modes of transport like bike sharing as well as public transport.