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Fleet News debate: Do car clubs really work?

Are car clubs/car sharing schemes really a viable alternative to daily rental or pool cars?

Tony Leigh, head of car fleet services, PwC It depends on your business journey patterns, where the cars are based in relation to your offices and the cost per day.

In London, they are a possible alternative to pool cars as most companies do not have enough parking spaces. However, public transport is usually cost effective and readily available.

The cost per day for even the smallest car is far higher than negotiated car rental rates, plus you have the inconvenience of getting to where the car is parked.

David Johnson, corporate strategy manager, Woking Borough Council Pool cars yes, daily rental no. We’ve actually found a combination of car sharing and daily rental is the right solution.

The former for short trips where employees might otherwise have used pool cars and the latter for longer journeys, or to keep vital services mobile in bad weather. As an alternative to pool cars, car sharing is ideal.

Stephen Cavinder, transport manager, BAA They can be a viable solution where someone has an ad-hoc/non-permanent requirement for a vehicle and where they are able to book a vehicle in advance for short periods such as one or two hours, for instance.

What are the benefits of car clubs/car sharing schemes?

Tony Leigh Car clubs are more likely to benefit the private user, particularly where that person does limited mileage and the cost is far less than having your own car with all the associated costs, to travel a low annual mileage.

David Johnson We see the main benefit is in replacing the grey fleet. Mileage reimbursement is a huge cost, especially if employees take unnecessary trips, so car sharing allows organisations like ours to really change driver behaviour by ensuring vehicles are only used for essential journeys.

Car sharing can swiftly become a vital part of your transport arsenal.

Stephen Cavinder There are a number of benefits, including reducing your fleet size, which can lower your capital cost and depreciation and revenue costs.

There is also improved vehicle usage, less need for vehicle car parking and the environmental impact of having fewer vehicles on the fleet and on the road.

What are the financial implications of using car clubs/car sharing schemes?

Tony Leigh On a daily rate, cost is prohibitive over daily rental. We are trialling electric cars on a car-sharing basis in London and Birmingham but it comes down to persuading employees that it is a viable alternative to public transport even though they are cost effective and range is not a problem.

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