Blog: Car clubs
Dave Leggett | 24 March 2005
London is a big and crowded city well served by public transport (despite the many moans of Londoners - they should try a city without the tube sometime) for which the car ownership proposition is at the very least questionable. If you are lucky enough to be able to park it outside your home, the streets are clogged up and there's the problem of parking when you reach your destination. Gatso cameras, traffic wardens with ticketing targets and private wheel-clamping firms who take no prisoners are everywhere you look. And insurance premiums are sky-high, accidents and scrapes are common, however careful you are, and if you drive into the centre of town there's an additional tax to face - the Congestion Charge (and the area subject to this additional charge is being extended).
Studies have shown that using a mix of public transport, cabs and daily rental is probably the most cost-effective strategy for most. That said, I always had a car when I lived in London. Devil-may-care minicab drivers in clapped out Nissan Bluebirds who have little respect for the rules of the road are no fun at all in the early hours. Come to think of it, the 'cheery' London cabby (in the traditional London black cab) with his 'The Sun Says' views on life and outrageous metered fare can be pretty irksome also. And the 'tube' (London Underground railway)? Convenient though it undeniably is, travelling with 'the great unwashed' can be a bit much, especially if you have no alternative and it is a hot day in the summer. Sometimes you want your own space and it is worth paying a premium for that.
But there are some interesting car club/sharing schemes emerging these days. Here's one that someone told me about earlier today. On paper, it looks like it could have some appeal to those in a city like London who don't want the hassle and fixed costs of actually owning a car.
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