Club rolls out car sharing scheme

Oxford Mail: Joanna Gill and her daughter Hannah Holmes, four Buy this photo » Joanna Gill and her daughter Hannah Holmes, four

A NEW car club whose members will share vehicles to help combat climate change is launching in South Oxford tomorrow.

The South Oxford Car Club will make two cars available in dedicated parking bays in Salter Close, off Whitehouse Road, and in Wytham Street.

The club aims to persuade people to get rid of their own cars by offering pay-as-you-go driving by the use of a smart card. The project has been started by Low Carbon South Oxford in collaboration with Co-wheels, which runs car clubs in 30 locations around the country.

Joanna Gill, 40, transport coordinator for LCSO, said: “Climate change is the biggest challenge facing all of us and this is a concrete way of doing something about it. If you use a car for less than 15 hours a week you can save money by using the car club. We raised the money for one car and Co-wheels gave us the other. The council has helped us with the parking spots.

“Car sharing should be a priority in Oxford. We have bad traffic and congestion but it’s a great city for cycling and we have good public transport. I think it will appeal to people in Oxford because many don’t use their cars an awful lot.”

There is a one-off joining fee of £25 followed by hourly rates of £3.45 plus 21p per mile for member cars in South Oxford.

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After members have received smart cards, which are used to unlock the cars, they can book them online and use them for as long as they need.

Payments are made at the end of the month by direct debit. The new scheme has been inspired by the success of the two existing clubs in Oxford.

The clubs in East Oxford and Headington now have almost 20 shared cars between them.

Paula Ruoff, 27, Surrey and Oxford development coordinator for Co-wheels, said: “Car clubs encourage smarter use of car resources. Research shows that for every car club about 15 to 20 private cars are taken off the streets.

“People are interested in carbon emissions and pollution now. They see that resources are becoming scarce and parking is getting harder.

“I think it will be very successful in South Oxford. We are offering a deal to new members where they will receive £20 free driving credit if they sign up with us now.”

The official launch takes place at South Oxford Farmers’ Market in Lake Street Community Centre tomorrow between 9.30am and 11.30am.

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