Croydon Council drives sustainable staff fleet with Zipcar

UK pay-as-you-drive network Zipcar is to provide a car club service to Croydon Council employees in a partnership that aims to reduce car usage, CO2 emissions and overall travel costs.

The agreement follows a competitive tender on the back of an initial pilot scheme in early 2010, when Croydon Council launched a “radical transport review” in order to implement a more cost-effective and sustainable fleet solution.

A practical need to reduce costs and ease parking pressures was combined with the council’s decision to align itself with a progressive “green agenda”, by cutting carbon emissions and encouraging public transport and travel on foot.

The council also wanted to extend the transport options available to residents of Croydon, by providing public access to the car club vehicles outside of working hours.

This “split service” model between private and public use caters to the complementary peaks in demand for both employees and local residents, and maximises the use of each vehicle, while minimising the need for car ownership.

The pilot scheme saw Croydon Council deliver a cut in car travel costs by 42%, from £1.3m to £756,000 and a reduction in Croydon Council employee car users by more than half (52%), from 1,284 to 611.

It also reduced employee business miles by 42%, from 1.1 million miles to 642,000 miles per year and cut employee CO2 emissions by 36%, from 324 tonnes, to 207 tonnes annually.

Results such as these are emerging from a growing list of local governments already using Zipcar, while similar ‘sharing’ services are being taken up by a rising environmentally aware public.

In May, a study conducted by Opinium on behalf of community movement group The People who Share demonstrated growing consumer appetite for more sustainable models of consumption through exchange and leasing mechanisms.

Businesses such as airbnb, Zipcar, LoveHomeSwap, ParkatmyHouse and Ecomodo are now firmly in this space. Zipcar has been observing its growth for the past 12 years, according to general manager Mark Walker.

A sharing economy – in which goods and services are based on collaborative consumption – is now valued at £330bn globally and £22.4bn in the UK, according to new research.

Leigh Stringer

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