The Rise of Green Car Rental
Car sharing originally started as a type of cooperative as early as 1987 in Switzerland and the concept was born as a way to provide both convenience and cost savings to the users much like the concept of condo time sharing, except that the "real estate" has wheels and the prescribed usage time is not fixed. Initially, these types of organizations paid large upfront deposits, an annual fee and a per usage fee to spread the cost of a new vehicle across more than one owner, which meant that small clubs were designed mainly for highly populous small areas. These days, the benefits of modernization, mass membership pools and technology has made car sharing unbelievably convenient and economical for a city as large as London or one of the other major UK cities.
So what does this mean in practical terms - how much does it cost and what do I get in return?
The Annual fees are usually £50, hourly fees range between £4-6/hr, depending on how much you want to drive that convertible! Reservations can be made online, by phone or through your iphone apps up to as little as 5 minutes prior to the time you'd like to reserve the car. You can also cancel up to 3 hours before your reservation (no more 24hr penalties from the rental companies!)
And that's all you have to pay for if you're a responsible user (meaning you return on time, keep the car neat and don't otherwise crash/damage the vehicle). Seriously!
No more paying for petrol, no more paying road tax, no more MOT, no more car washes (unless you enjoy this - for which they'll reimburse you! LOL!), no more high depreciation, no more comparing car insurance, no more paying for parking at home!
Among the many options out there, we've used Zipcar and highly recommend it. Originally an American company, they now have operations worldwide and have a number of centres in the UK. Zipcar have refined their service to be not only extremely technologically responsive (i.e. ipod docks, iphone app vehicle
unlocking, etc) but are also known for their commitment to outstanding customer service. As soon as they have discounts or vouchers for their services, we'll be carrying them as we think that this a great idea to save your wallet and the environmental impact of car ownership.
Other choices include:
Streetcar who also have a large fleet of vans, which, at £8.95/hr is by far the cheapest way to move a flat.
City Car Club
Other alternatives are a number of other small neighbourhood or corporate car sharing schemes. This approach will certainly save you money, help the environment and may just fit around your lifestyle so it's worth checking out. We'll certainly be looking into it for us and the Tripelli team's travels.