Be part of the solution

It’s no surprise to hear that too many costly private cars are clogging our city streets, wasting people’s time as well as making air quality worse for everyone locally.

However, reducing the number of cars on our streets doesn’t have to mean we stop driving altogether.

There are a number of ways to keep using cars when needed and also reduce car ownership, including peer-to-peer car sharing and car clubs. Peer-to-peer car sharing is where people offer privately-owned vehicles for rent to others via an online platform, whereas car clubs such as TripTo in mid-Wales work by giving members access to a car on a short-term rental basis and charging by the hour or the day.

Three-quarters of car club members claim to save money compared to owning a car, as they do not have to pay any of the costs associated with ownership – such as financing, depreciation, maintenance, insurance, tax and parking permits.

One car-club car typically replaces over 20 private cars. That’s almost 117,000 cars in total that are removed from the roads by all the current car club members in the UK! The average age of car club cars is 1.6 years, resulting in 27% less CO2 emissions compared to the average UK car. Air quality goes up too, as newer car club cars emit 89% less nitrogen oxides and 72% less particulates than the average car on the road.

Car clubs can also support specific organisations or communities. In Scotland, the Plugged-in Communities Grant is an opportunity for not-for-profit housing associations, housing cooperatives and constituted community groups to apply for funding to procure the services of a zero-emission car club vehicle, for use by their tenants and the wider local community. Ore Valley Housing Association in Fife is just one example, setting up a 10-vehicle electric car club in partnership with Enterprise Car Club.

For shorter journeys in towns and cities, a cycle-sharing scheme is another affordable and inclusive form of transport. It works by allowing a traveller to use a bike as public transport and pay a fee to ride it for a couple hours or for the day, picking up and leaving the bike at a docking station or using the relevant app for ‘dockless’ access. These schemes are typically set up by commercial operators but can also be started and run by community groups.

Do you have a car club within easy reach? Do you live in a town or city that would benefit from a bike sharing scheme? Car clubs and bike sharing can be set up by the community for the community, helping people move around more affordably while keeping local air quality from getting any worse.

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