The ‘Car Club Action Plan‘ – jointly developed by Transport for London, London Councils and the Greater London Authority – aims to grow the sharing economy idea into a mainstream alternative to private cars.

The capital already has one of the largest car club markets in the world with an estimated 145,000 car sharers, but the new plans aim to increase this number seven-fold in the next ten years.

Measures will include: improving access to data such as nearby parking bays through new technology and apps; creating more car club parking; and encouraging more electric vehicles within car clubs.

Problem solving

The coalition – which also includes a number of car club operators – says the plan will mitigate a number of issues, including population growth, congestion and pollution.

Research by the RAC Foundation has shown that the average city dweller’s car is only used for 4.6 hours a week, meaning that the vehicle is actually parked for 97% of the time. Congestion also costs London approximately £4 billion a year in delays and lost productivity, the coalition estimates. 

Bold ambition

Mark Walker, the general manager of Zipcar UK, which helped develop the plan, said: “We will look to make Zipcars and other sustainable modes of transport even more readily available to Londoners, with the goal of reducing miles driven in London by 500 million over the next ten years.”

“To achieve the one million members’ milestone, the delivery of the strategy needs to be bold,” Walker said.

“The most effective way of achieving this is for car clubs to also be included in the next generation of local transportation programmes such as TfL ticketing technology to create a one-travel ticket system for Londoners.

“An even bolder approach would be for London car owners to be offered financial incentives to ditch their cars and simply have access to various modes of transport, such as car clubs, when they need it.”

Just last week, Greenwich council introduced a car sharing scheme, distributing 27 vehicles around the London borough. This new plan will see that type of initiative replicated across the capital.

Hackney Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods Feryal Demirci, added: “By 2025 we will be in a situation where car clubs are so accessible and convenient that there will be no need to own a private vehicle.”

Brad Allen

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