Car clubs are set to receive a £500,000 boost to drive forward their work, Lib Dem Transport Minister Baroness Kramer has announced.
As part of a wider visit to Norfolk today (28 July 2014), the minister announced that the Department for Transport will provide the funding to support 2 pilot programmes which will promote much wider access to car clubs.
Baroness Kramer said:
Car clubs cut congestion, reduce carbon and save people money while still giving people the freedom and flexibility to use a car when they want to. Interest in car clubs is already gathering pace and we want to give that interest added momentum.
This funding will highlight their many advantages to even more people and help take car clubs up a gear.
The proportion of carless households has been growing across the country since 2005. At the same time, because people value the convenience that access to a car brings, interest in car clubs is growing.
There are already over 150,000 car club members in England and government is keen to support their growth. They make much more efficient use of the limited space available on the road, with estimates suggesting that one rental car can take the place of 17 individually owned vehicles.
Car clubs can also help save drivers money – potentially thousands of pounds per year. The evidence suggests that pay-as-you-go car use encourages people to walk and cycle more often and make more frequent use of public transport. And car club vehicles tend to have lower emissions than the average car.
The Department for Transport is already funding 48 car club and car sharing schemes through our Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
While in Norfolk, Baroness Kramer also saw first hand the success of a government-funded trial of the holdall smartcard scheme which allows people to use many of the county’s different bus services with a single card. Norfolk was chosen to host the trial because of its mix of small, medium and large bus operators running services in both urban and rural areas.
The experience gathered from the £2.5 million scheme will help inform the introduction of smart ticketing elsewhere in the country.
The minister also visited Zenos Cars, a company that has received £150,000 towards the development of an ultra-light sports car. The technological advances are expected to inform the future development of electric cars and other ultra low emission vehicles, where the use of light weight materials is particularly valuable.