Wednesday 2nd June, 2010

Westminster’s Green Drive

Image courtesy DoYouMindTheGap, Flickr

Westminster Council has teamed up with Zipcar to offer Londoners the chance to drive around without having to fork out cash for a car, congestion charges or parking fees.

The council is hoping to convince Londoners to give up their cars in favour of joining its car club. The idea is that members will reduce CO2 emissions by driving only when strictly necessary.

“We are experiencing a high demand for membership and lots of people are very interested in joining,” a council spokeswoman said. “The fact that the programme will also decrease the number of cars on the road is pretty much a win-win for motorists.”

The scheme has already convinced more than 1,650 residents and 170 businesses to join.

A recent survey carried out among members revealed that almost a third had given up their cars since joining the car club. The council estimates that each car from their fleet has the ability to replace up to 20 cars that would otherwise be on the road.

The car club scheme offers a variety of vehicles, including Mini Coopers, BMW 318s, Toyota Verso people carriers and several hybrid and electric cars.

Westminster council is hoping to have more than 400 car club bays across the borough over the next four years.

How to get started

First, go to the scheme’s dedicated website (below) and sign up. Anyone with a valid driver’s licence over the age of 19 is eligible and will receive their member’s card after a few days.

The next step is to book a car. This can be done over the phone or online. Once the vehicle is booked and paid for, just head over to it, pass the membership card over the windshield and marvel as it unlocks.

You are then free to drive for your allotted time but must return the car to the same parking bay.

Costs

Members will be charged a ‘pay-as-you-go’ tariff with hourly rates starting from £3.95. Annual membership costs £25, which is offset by £25 of free driving credit when you sign up.

More information can be found at Westminster Zipcar

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