Car club boom

The number of people using car clubs in Britain is rising fast, according to a new report.

Carplus, the national charity promoting responsible car use, has published its first quarterly report into the increasing influence of car clubs in what is sure to be interpreted as good news for the environment.

Data from the four accredited clubs in the country, providing the short term car hire service to members, shows membership has increased rapidly in recent years to 23,000.

Antonia Roberts, Carplus co-director, said: “We are very pleased with the data. This is the first time we have been able to present a national picture of car clubs.

“They show, as we expected, that car clubs are continuing to increase their influence across the country.”

London is fuelling the boom with 70 percent of the total – though the trend is being reflected in major cities across the country.

More than 700 vehicles are now available with an average of 32 members per car.

Carplus says it expects the figures to continue to increase strongly in coming months as new car clubs launch and existing clubs attract new members. Membership is predicted to hit one million by 2015.

Clubs are held to be an effective way of cutting the environmental and financial costs of motoring, resulting in fewer cars on the road and less pollution from carbon emissions. Members are found to cycle or use public transport more or simply travel less.

They usually give up their cars on joining, Carplus says, with each club vehicle typically replacing six private ones.

By 2010 there are expected to be 300,000 fewer cars on the road than would otherwise be the case.

“Carplus will continue working towards a national network of car clubs, where everyone will experience the benefits of access to a car without ownership,” said Ms Roberts.

The country’s four accredited operators are currently City Car Club, Streetcar, WhizzGo and Zipcar.

David Gibbs

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