Blog: Car clubs – recession busters?
Dave Leggett | 6 January 2010
I have been a little bit taken aback by the scale of growth at car clubs taking place in Britain right now. These are the businesses that let you drive a car – typically for a few hours or a day – when you need it, in return for an annual membership fee (GBP59.50 in Streetcar's case) and their pay-as-you-go rental charge (eg BMW 1 Series for GBP6.95 an hour, GBP69.50 for 24 hours).
Streetcar has some pretty bullish looking forecasts for membership growth. Yep, maybe the environment for them at the moment is not too bad in looking to persuade car owners in big cities to dump the costs – and hassles - of car ownership and go for car club membership instead. And as they grow, the car club offering gets more attractive – more cars and more places where they are parked up.
One particularly interesting aspect is that Streetcar is also targeting business users. By using Streetcar vehicles for staff business travel, organisations can make significant savings against running their own fleet, the firm says.
Streetcar says it is used by Surrey County Council which saw a cost reduction of 26% per mile driven with Streetcar compared to their previous car pool costs. I guess it would come down to the extent to which a car pool is being utilised, but I'd guess there must be a significant business opportunity here for a kind of pay-as-you-go solution that can lead to reduced costs in some cases. And financially hard-pressed local authorities need all the help they can get.
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