Car club schemes across England received a huge boost today (25 November 2014) as Transport Minister Baroness Kramer announced the winning bidders for a share of £500,000 government funding.
Over 50 new vehicles will now be available across car club demonstration projects in Derby, Nottingham, Norfolk and West Yorkshire, thanks to the awards.
Membership of car clubs allows access to low carbon vehicles for short periods of time, often by the hour, on a pay-as-you-go basis. Baroness Kramer launched a funding competition to support pilot projects earlier this year as part of the car club development programme.
Baroness Kramer said:
These investments will give the growing interest in car clubs added momentum. Car clubs cut congestion, reduce carbon and save people money while still giving people the freedom and flexibility to use a car when they want to.
We can now look forward to the winning towns and cities providing a practical demonstration of the increasing relevance of car clubs to sustainable transport throughout England.
Chas Ball, Chief Executive of Carplus, said:
This is a significant step forward for car clubs, creating the conditions for innovative schemes that also provide excellent examples of how car clubs complement public transport.
The 4 car club demonstration project awards are:
- Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council: £100,000 funding to grow the successful Norfolk Car Club in Norwich and across the Greater Norwich area.
- Derby City Council: £75,000 funding for a new car club starting with 10 city centre car club vehicles available to businesses and residents.
- Nottingham City Council: £37,500 funding will be used to create 5 new hubs at key transport interchanges including the train station and Park n’ Ride sites offering access to shared cars. The Nottingham Citycard, an integrated smart ticket which currently offers train, tram and bus travel will also become the ‘key’ to these vehicles.
- West Yorkshire Combined Authority: £37,500 funding to add 20 cars across the authority from York in the north to Halifax in the west, with seamless bus, train and car club travel possible through the MCard.
Carplus, which promotes accessible and low-carbon alternatives to traditional car use in the UK, will also announce the winners of the Car Club Challenge Fund at its annual forum on 27 November. This grant will help to kick start or expand projects in small towns and rural areas and also fund projects that aim to improve transport integration.
The proportion of carless households has been growing across the country since 2005. At the same time, because people value the convenience that access to a car brings, interest in car clubs is growing.
Across the UK car clubs have over 180,000 members with over 3,200 cars. This funding will help demonstrate the potential for expanding the coverage across England.
They make much more efficient use of the limited space available on the road, with estimates suggesting that one car club car can take the place of 17 individually owned vehicles. Car clubs can also help save drivers money – potentially thousands of pounds per year.
The evidence suggests that pay-as-you-go car use encourages people to walk and cycle more often and make more frequent use of public transport.
And car club vehicles tend to have lower emissions than the average car. The Department for Transport is already funding 48 car club and car sharing schemes through our Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
Across the UK, it is estimated the car club fleet saves over 2,700 tonnes of carbon per year – the equivalent of 886 return flights from London to Sydney.