Transition Truro and Transition Falmouth have been promoting the concept of car (sharing) clubs locally for many years. They fit well with the ideals of the Transition Town movement:
- Engender community cohesion through promoting shared use of resources and greater interaction with others in the community through increased use of public transport, walking and cycling.
- Help reduce carbon emissions through reduced reliance on personal car use and greater use of public transport and cycling and walking.
- Promote healthy lifestyles.
- Promote a more inclusive society through affordable access to car use in a rural area.
The level of community interest shown through our involvement helped the car club operator, Co-Cars, in their bid to Carplus www.carplus.org.uk for funding to extend their operation to Truro and Falmouth (as well as other locations in Devon).
We now know that Co-cars were successful in their bid and now have until the end of March 2016 to set up their operation in the two towns.
What is a car club?
A car club provides access to a car as and when you need it on a pay as you go basis without the hassles and cost of car ownership.
It is ideal for occasional drivers, short trippers and 2 car families who wouldn’t need their second car if they could hire one for an hour or two. Local businesses/employers can also benefit from being a member.
Who are Co-Cars?
Co-Cars is the biggest car club in the South West outside Bristol, www.co-cars.co.uk. They have been trading for 10 years, are a social enterprise and are Carplus accredited. Their aim is to bring smart equitable sustainable mobility to all.
As at 30 June 2015 Co-cars have 450 members, with over 15 cars in Exeter alone plus more cars in other parts of Devon, Somerset & Dorset. They use high quality hybrid cars and are putting electric vehicles into new developments in 2015. Co-Cars provide a 24/7 customer service to their members.
Co-cars proposal is for 2 cars in Truro and 2 in Falmouth.
Working in partnership with Great Western Railway (GWR) there will be a car at each of the main railway stations in Truro and Falmouth. These spaces have already been agreed with GWR. A further parking space needs to be found in a (preferably) central location in each town.
Discussions are under way with Cornwall Council to see if the spaces could be made available in Council owned car parks. But other options need to be explored.
Initially the cars proposed for Truro and Falmouth are Yaris Hybrid 5 door saloons or smaller cars depending on demand. The project needs to be on the ground by end March 2016 at the latest.
How will it work and what are the costs?
Co-Cars are proposing the following pricing: annual membership of £25 plus a hire charge of £3.75 per hour and 15p per mile. This covers all costs including fuel. Free membership and vouchers will be part of the initial offer. For businesses there is no membership fee but a 7% fee is applied to monthly usage.
Co-Cars use full telematics in all their cars and use an online Direct Debit payment system. Members can book online, via their smart phone, from 1 hour to many days in advance. Members receive a smart card & pin number to access and use the cars. Cars are located in dedicated parking bays.
How could a car club benefit Truro?
Truro suffers from parking pressures and congestion. It has high residential densities and thriving local businesses as well as good public transport links.
All these factors make it a good location for a car club which can help reduce congestion and emissions, improve local environments, encourage healthier and safer lifestyles, and enable users to save money. Car clubs complement public transport, cycling and walking and are not designed for commuting.
Eg, a Truro based architects firm becomes a member of the car club. One of the employees lives in St Agnes which has good bus links to Truro. Instead of needing a car to drive to work in Truro the employee is able to take the bus and use the car club car for work visits to clients. This means:
- one less car commuting to Truro,
- a little less pressure on Truro’s congested roads and parking spaces,
- a little less pollution from the car idling in queues of traffic on the approach roads to Truro centre
- support for the local bus service
- Less stress for the employee from sitting in traffic queues
- Depending on the employee’s circumstances potentially the ability for them to save costs by giving up a second family car needed for the daily commute.
Interested in joining the Co-cars car club or finding out more?
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Car club or for further information please contact Sarah Wetherill on 01872 858870 or firstname.lastname@example.org