RAC Research Demonstrates Appetite For "Boris Cars"

By BethPH Last edited 70 months ago
RAC Research Demonstrates Appetite For "Boris Cars"

If you need to use a car occasionally but don't want the hassle and expense of owning one, a new one-way hire scheme could be just the ticket.

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.

Last Updated 03 July 2012


More cars on the road? Just what we need.........


Volkswagen launched a similar scheme in Hanover last year http://www.volkswagenag.com/co...


Yes, car hire schemes in London already exist (I've been a member of 2) but the only problem with them and what makes them really annoying is that you have to drop it off where you left it. So if you need to go somewhere and you'll be a few hours or even a day then you can't drive there. This could work but it will defiantly put more cars around London. IF they do go ahead with this then I think it should be the ONLY car hire scheme in london and the companies that already exist should give up their spaces for this scheme.


Hm, sounds like a plan to me. As as infrequent London visitor it could be useful.


Having given our car away 4 years ago, and relying upon public transport and car clubs (Zipcar, Streetcar, Whipcar) ever since, we would welcome such a scheme as a useful extension to the range of options. Car clubs work well if there is pool nearby (i.e. within a couple of hundred yards) but they suffer from the disadvantage that you end up paying by the hour when the car is parked and not in use. Boris cars would theoretically overcome that particular disadvantage but there would have to be massive availability over a wide area for that to work. Boris Bikes are focused on very central London: Boris Cars would need to cover out into the suburbs and beyond. Somehow I do not see such a massive capital investment happening in the foreseeable future.