Flexibility the key to car sharing success in Westminster

Wed, 19/09/2018

Two flexible car sharing providers are set to operate in the City of Westminster for the first time, allowing users to hire vehicles and leave them in different on-street parking bays in Westminster as well as other boroughs across London. The new initiative comes after Westminster City Council awarded new flexible contracts to DriveNow and Zipcar, while also renewing Zipcar’s contract for round trip car sharing. Zipcar members can use the flexible car sharing service immediately, while DriveNow will roll out its new fleet of vehicles later this year. Round trip car sharing has existed in Westminster since 2009 with Zipcar, which enables users to hire a shared car, however the vehicle must be returned to its same fixed location. There are 185 vehicles already available for use under the round trip scheme, while 150 additional vehicles will hit the streets for flexible use, with approximately 30 per cent of the fleets being electric. Cllr Tim Mitchell, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Environment and City Management, said it is pleasing to see convenience and air quality initiatives expand for new and existing members. “The aim of the service is to provide residents and businesses with an alternative to private vehicle ownership, which also reduces the number of vehicles using our roads, congestion and pollution. “The fixed car sharing services boast more than 12,000 members and we hope this flexible option within central London will encourage greater participation, while steering even more away from vehicle ownership.” There will be a range of different vehicle models available to complement differing customer journeys, ranging from small cars to vans. Zipcar UK General Manager Jonathan Hampson said: “We hugely value the relationship we have built with the City of Westminster and its residents over the past nine years. Now we're delighted to be taking this to the next level with both Zipcar Roundtrip and one-way Zipcar Flex operating in Westminster for the first time, which means we can help fulfil more residents' trip needs. “We're also excited that more of these trips can be completed with fully electric vehicles, Westminster being one of the first boroughs to operate our newly launched e-Golfs.” James Taylor, Managing Director DriveNow UK, said “DriveNow has been operating flexible car sharing since 2011 and in London since 2014. We're delighted to expand our service to Westminster, offering residents and businesses access to a range of BMW and MINI vehicles, including our fully electric BMW i3. “Studies have shown that flexible car sharing encourages more owners to give up their private vehicles and choose other sustainable transport options, alongside occasional shared car use. We're committed to working with Westminster to deliver a more sustainable future for the borough, helping to address the combined challenges of poor air quality and congestion.” Zipcar currently operates in Westminster, Lambeth, Merton, Southwark, Wandsworth, Hackney, Islington, Waltham Forest, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets. Meanwhile, DriveNow currently operates in Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest, and will expand to Westminster later this year.

Last updated: 23 October 2018
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