Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Car sharing and car clubs

With more cars on the roads, car sharing schemes are becoming more popular. Car sharing can help combat congestion and reduce CO2 emissions. Joining a car club can also have benefits for the environment - and could save you money.

The benefits of car sharing

Car sharing schemes allow people to share vehicles for some journeys. The benefits of car sharing include:

* improved air quality and fewer carbon emissions due to reduced traffic
* reduced travel costs for each person
* less congestion and shorter journeys due to fewer cars being on the road
* an increased chance of finding a parking space, because fewer cars means less competition for spaces
* increased personal security if your car share means you walk to and from the car with somebody else

Car clubs

Car clubs give people access to a car for essential journeys without the need to own one.

Belonging to a club allows you to hire a vehicle which is parked in a reserved parking space, close to homes or workplaces. Vehicles can be used and paid for on an hourly, daily or weekly basis.

Using a car club can be less expensive and less hassle than owning your own car. You don't have to buy a vehicle or pay for expenses like maintenance, an MOT or car tax, and the system is usually simple:

* a car is booked through a central office using the telephone or internet
* cars can be hired 24 hours a day for as little as an hour at a time
* cars are left in parking bays close to homes or workplaces
* keys are either kept at a nearby safe, or in the car, which is accessed using a smart card
* drivers usually pay a monthly or yearly fee, and are billed for hours hired and miles driven
* servicing and maintenance is taken care of for you