Europcar Mobility Group’s car-sharing brand Ubeeqo says that DriveNow’s decision to leave London must not deter local authorities – and motorists – from adopting car sharing.
BMW and Daimler announced they were pulling car sharing services from the UK and North America last week, blaming the “volatile state of the global mobility landscape” and rising infrastructure costs.
The announcement came just months after the pair said they were investing more than €1 billion (£870 million) to develop and integrate car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, electric vehicle (EV) charging and multimodal transport.
They included ShareNow, which amalgamated Daimler’s decade old Car2Go brand and BMW’s DriveNow. Both offer app-based, by-the-minute rentals.
Patrick Cresswell, managing director of Ubeeqo UK, said he was disappointed to hear that fellow car sharing service DriveNow had announced it will cease operations next year in London.
He said: “It continues to be difficult for car sharing providers to gain traction and expand in the capital, and a shift in uptake and support from local councils and TfL is necessary to encourage future growth.
“Car sharing has a crucial role to play in removing privately owned cars off the road and tackling issues such as air quality, congestion and parking pressure.”
Cresswell said Ubeeqo’s goal is to serve Londoners who want to give up their own vehicle, but want the certainty that there will be a car when and where they need it.
It operates a round-trip service with a mix of fixed car club only bays and a geofence parking model.
Cresswell continued: “There are multiple benefits to this model; it operates easily within a single local authority area, the borough can easily manage the number of vehicles we own in the area (avoiding the ‘clustering issue’ of one-way), bookings can be made in advance right up until the customer needs to leave, and the bay is available for others to use when the Ubeeqo vehicle is on hire.”
The ‘back to base’ approach of Ubeeqo aims to eliminate the problem of one-way car club vehicles ending up at a destination, rather than where they started from, which means people who have given up their own vehicle can’t find a car club vehicle when they need it. This in turn takes the pressure off parking in areas outside of where the car club is operating, it says.
All vehicles in the Ubeeqo fleet are specially adapted to include an RFID card access system, meaning the cars can be booked via the Ubeqo app or website and used by several different people throughout the day.
The cars can be booked for any length of time (over one hour). Insurance is included in the price.