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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Car clubs

There are car clubs all over the country that give you access to a car without the need to own one. Joining one could save you money and have benefits for the environment. Learn how car clubs work, how to join a club and find a local car.

How car clubs work

Car clubs provide their members with quick and easy access to a car when they need one. They vary from small, community-based enterprises to commercial operations.

Members book a vehicle for periods ranging from half an hour upwards, by telephone or internet. The booking can usually be made well ahead of time or with a few minutes’ notice.

Cars are parked at designated parking bays in the local area. These bays can either be on the street or in the driveways of members. They are usually accessed using a smart card and PIN.

There is usually a monthly or annual subscription charge, together with a pay-as-you-go or monthly invoice for actual usage. This includes fuel, insurance and maintenance costs.

How to join a car club

There are car clubs all over the UK and you can apply online or by phone.

You will usually need a full valid driving licence held for at least 12 months and be aged between 18 and 75. The car club will run a credit check and confirm your details with the DVLA. They will discuss insurance and membership options with you. Your membership will usually be confirmed within a few minutes.

You can search for your nearest car club using Carplus, a charity that promotes responsible car use.

Why use a car club?

Using a car club can be cheaper than owning your own car, especially if you drive less than 6,000 miles per year. It can also involve less stress and hassle. You don't have to buy a vehicle or pay for expenses like maintenance, an MOT or car tax, and the system is usually simple.

Using a car club as an alternative to owning a car is also an environmentally friendly option. Sharing a car between many different people can lead to fewer cars needing to be manufactured. Car club cars are often new, energy efficient models that use less fuel than the average car on the road.

People who might benefit from joining a car club

You might benefit from joining a car club if you:

  • need a car occasionally and don’t want the expense and hassle of owning and running one
  • currently run a car but are doing a medium to low mileage (less than 8,000 miles per year)
  • don’t own a car, but would like to have access to one for occasional use
  • are a two-car family and wouldn’t need your second car if you could sometimes hire one for an hour or two
  • are a business that uses pool cars or staff's own vehicles for business trips but could use car club vehicles instead

Car club vehicles

Most car clubs offer a choice of vehicles (including, on occasion, small vans) often less than three years old. Increasingly, low-emission cars like hybrid vehicles are being added to traditional petrol car fleets.

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