City Car Club
City Car Club is one of the leading car club operators in the UK. Established in 2000 and with around 700 vehicles, it is the oldest and one of the largest car clubs operating at a national scale in the country. Operating a range of low-emissions vehicles, it uses the now standard technologies of online booking and smartcards access to the cars. Billed as "The thinking person's car", the company has received huge press attention, particularly as an example of a unique business thriving during the recent economic downturn. Its activities receive the broad support of academics in the field of sustainable development, many of whom view car clubs as an important part of the transport mix in a sustainable city. Relying upon support from local authorities, City Car Club works in partnership with communities, attempting to supplement existing public transport infrastructure and act as an alternative to conventional car ownership.
On 28 August 2009, City Car Club acquired rivals WhizzGo creating the UK's largest network of hourly rental cars. In 2010 City Car Club added vans to their fleet meaning that members can book a van by the hour in the same way as they do with the cars.
Car sharing and car clubs have been a popular choice of motorists in Central Europe since the late 1990s, most prominently in Switzerland where the organisation Mobility has more than 58,000 members. Influenced by this and other organisations, City Car Club was established in 2000 in London and Edinburgh and now operates in thirteen towns and cities around the UK (see 'Locations').
City Car Club has invested over £1M in hybrid vehicles.
It is estimated that the average British car owner spends between £3000 and £4000 per annum on tax, maintenance and other costs; and government initiatives such as the UK Commission for Integrated Transport, as well as NGOs including the Campaign for Better Transport, have cited car club membership as a valid way of reducing car ownership and the resulting congestion and pollution problems.
Upon joining, members are issued with a 'smart card' (or London members can use their Oyster Card), membership number, and four-digit PIN. They can then log on to the Car Club website to browse vehicle locations and book vehicles. Alternatively members may call the 'Clubhouse' to book over the phone. Members can extend their booking while it is under way using the on-board computer, provided the vehicle is available for the time specified. When the fuel gauge reaches 1/4, members are asked to fill the tank using the fuel card supplied in an information folder with each vehicle.
Acquisition of WhizzGo
On 28 August 2009, City Car Club acquired one of their competitors, WhizzGo, creating the UK's largest network of hourly rental cars. The strategic acquisition marked the first major consolidation within the UK car club industry and secured City Car Club's leading position - with 500 cars in 13 cities and a membership base of 20,000.
City Car Club withdrew the WhizzGo service in Liverpool in December 2009 when the existing contract with Liverpool City Council expireed. Citing operational problems including vandalism, lack of opportunities for expansion and problems with blocked parking bays, the club declined to participate in the local tender process for future car club operations.
City Car Club operates cars and vans in the following UK towns and cities:
- Brighton and Hove
- "Press Release". City Car Club. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- "Reducing car ownership and use - understanding people and places". CTS. Retrieved 2007-07-08.
- "Lucrative corporate members tempt". The Independent (London). 2009-09-13. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "Corporate Plan". Mobility. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- "Scotland Today News Story (Video)". City Car Club. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- "Factsheets - No.9: Paying for Road Use Case Studies". CFIT. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- Car club to fight congestion - BBC
- Going Green - BBC Midlands
- Share don't buy. Drivers embrace car-based transport solution - Guardian Unlimited Business
- Is it worth joining a car club? - Guardian Unlimited
- Why I Love... 'Transport Blending' - Guardian Unlimited