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Cardiff Council seeks partner to run car sharing club


A large-scale, car-sharing scheme has taken a step closer after Cardiff Council agreed to look for an official partner to run a new car club in the Welsh capital.

Under the plans cars and vans would be available across the city which subscribers could book via an app or a website for immediate use.

A Car Club has been trialled in the city before and cars are available now, but the council is now looking to find a partner who can get an expanded scheme up and running by spring/summer of next year.

Cllr Caro Wild, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, said: “We are excited about the possibilities that a large-scale car club can offer the city and our residents. We believe it can help residents save money while freeing up space on our streets.

“After rent or a mortgage, buying a car is often one of the biggest financial outgoings a family might have and most of the time your car is parked outside your house or workplace depreciating and losing value.

“We are starting to see evidence surface that people could be ready to start thinking about moving away from private car ownership to using a car only when they actually need it. Whilst that won’t work for everyone, trends suggest younger people are now driving less while shared mobility options like OVO Bikes are proving popular. There are also families that own multiple cars who may be able to reduce that number with a car club in their area.

“The vehicles will be new, meaning they produce vastly reduced emissions, and we will of course look at electric vehicles as being part of any deal. In this way we can improve air quality in the city while saving residents money on car ownership.”

Cardiff Council will now undertake a tender process to look for a partner. The financial and operating risks will be the responsibility of the car club operator.

Any successful proposal will need to interlink with the wider, public-transport network, bus and rail operators, and active-travel routes.

Research undertaken by CoMoUK between 2002 and 2012 shows that 25% of car-club owners sold their car or van since joining a car club.

What is a car club?

A car club is an organisation that people or businesses can join, so they are able to rent a highly efficient, hybrid or electric car or van to use when they need to do so. There are a variety of business models on how a car club can be delivered, whether it is run as a private company, a social enterprise, or a co-operative. The chosen model for Cardiff’s Car Club will be decided through the tender process.

The idea behind a car club is that a person, or organisation can rent a vehicle to use when they become a member and want to use it. Most cars in private ownership are only used 10% of the time, so the rest of the time many of these vehicles are taking up space on the public highway.

There are many benefits of being a member of a car club, as you only pay to use a vehicle when you need to use it, and you don’t have to worry about the liabilities that are involved with owning a private car.

By being a member of a car club, all fuel, servicing, MOTs, breakdown cover, insurance and cleaning is included as part of the package. When applying to become a member, driving license details and the person’s driving record are assessed to ensure the person is legally allowed to drive.

Once the car club grows and more vehicles become available, people will be able to rent a vehicle at very short notice, which will ensure that the service is convenient, easy to use and in relative terms – far cheaper than owning a private car.