A new report, Car Rental 2.0 by Imperial College for the RAC Foundation, suggests a rental scheme based more closely on the Barclays Cycle Hire model could have a potential market of 1.6m people in the capital alone. People could pick the car up in one location and drop it off in another. A similar scheme started in Paris last year — Autolib’ offers more than 1,700 electric cars at 250 locations across the city.
There are already an estimated 100,000 people in London taking part in established car clubs like Zipcar, which allow drivers to rent vehicles by the hour, picking them up from scores of on-street locations before returning them to the same location later. Transport for London (TfL) promotes several car clubs and has invested in using them to complement public transport. Other variations on the theme include clubs like Whipcar, which allows drivers to rent out their own vehicles.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“A big benefit of car clubs is that in the long term they offer the chance to significantly reduce the pressure on parking congestion with a single car serving the needs of many people.”
Let’s hope that if it goes ahead someone other than Barclays will sponsor it.
Would Londonist readers use a car club scheme like this? Tell us in the comments below.
Photo by Jacque Cilliers in the Londonist Flickr pool.