In my head this seems like a strange idea, especially in a city which is already well-known for traffic problems. However, Zipcar is now here in London and they’ve added 300 petrol (don’t ask me why there’s no electric) cars to London streets.
Their idea, via the new Zipcar Flex service, is that you effectively borrow a car for a bit. They call it a “drop and drive service” where you pay 29p a minute. It means that you can now do a one-way journey, instead of the previous “Roundtrip” service that Zipcar have had in operation.
The company tell me that you can use the new Zipcar Flex service to..
…spontaneously jump into a car and drive to a destination one-way or run an errand, ending their trip by dropping it off in any one of the thousands of approved parking bays within the designated ‘Zipzone’ – a zone of 70 km2 across London which covers Wandsworth, Merton, South Lambeth and most of Southwark.
There’s a mix of 300 automatic and manual Volkswagen Polos and there’s no additional membership cost for existing Zipcar UK members. You pick one up, then park it again in one of their “approved parking spaces”.
To get on board, you need to head to their site, apply online and then you can start to reserve a car either via their site or the mobile app. To unlock the car, you simply walk up to it and hold your Zipcard on the windscreen for a few seconds. It’ll then be available for you to drive. Petrol and insurance is included.
The company also operate in Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Maidstone and Oxford. Depending on where you are, prices are different. In London you’ll be paying a £19 one-off joining fee.
Further details in their press release below.
IPCAR FLEX LAUNCHES IN LONDON, MAKING ZIPCAR THE FIRST COMBINED ROUND-TRIP AND ONE-WAY CAR SHARING SERVICE IN THE UK
Latest Zipcar innovation, which makes the service even more affordable, flexible and adaptable to personal needs, marks major step-change in how Londoners will use cars to get around their city
Zipcar, the UK’s largest car club, has announced the launch of Zipcar Flex in London, a new one-way, drive and drop service, which gives Londoners even greater flexibility to get more out of their city and travel around London how they want to.
Members can now choose between two options via the same Zipcar app:
· The original Roundtrip service, which operates from dedicated on-street Car Club Only bays all across the city so Londoners pick-up and drop off a Zipcar in the same location.
· The new Zipcar Flex service to spontaneously jump into a car and drive to a destination one-way or run an errand, ending their trip by dropping it off in any one of the thousands of approved parking bays within the designated ‘Zipzone’ – a zone of 70 km2 across London which covers Wandsworth, Merton, South Lambeth and most of Southwark.
· 300 petrol Volkswagen Polos available across the Zipzone
· A mix of automatic and manual transmission vehicles to suit drivers’ preferences
· No additional membership cost for existing Zipcar UK members
· Drive – for just 29p per minute
· Drop – in any of the thousands of approved parking spaces across the Zipzone
· Do – whatever you want, this really is “wheels when you want them”
· Londoners can currently join for free and access the whole Zipcar fleet in the UK’s capital*
The new Zipcar Flex service will also help members save money as they’ll only pay for the exact time they drive. This means that they can travel one-way, spend a few hours with friends and then book another car to head home. A one-way trip from East Dulwich to Balham for a night out, for example, or a trip from Battersea Park to Tooting Bec Lido for a swim and lunch on a sunny day could cost just £5.80 (20 minutes).
The convenience of this new combined service is set to take car sharing into the mainstream, with the aim to take more cars off London roads and help address worsening issues of air quality, congestion and the general demands on space posed by a growing city. Independent research carried out in May 2017 by Vitreous World amongst 2,000 Londoners on behalf of Zipcar, shows that these are key issues for Londoners. Over half of Londoners (57%) have considered leaving London to live elsewhere in the past 12 months, with traffic, congestion, poor air quality and pollution levels cited as key issues, second only to lack of affordable property.
The benefits of car sharing include:
· A fall in car ownership:
o Each round-trip car club car replaces 10.5 vehicles from the road as members report that they sell cars to join the service
· A fall in car miles driven:
o The average change in annual household car mileage (for all cars in the household) reported by members surveyed after joining was a decrease of 570 miles
· An increase in use of more sustainable transport modes:
o 23% of car club members cycle regularly as opposed to only nine percent of Londoners
o 62% of car club members are regular users of the tube versus 37% of Londoners
What’s more, over half of respondents in Zipcar’s research (57%) agreed that as London grows, it will become increasingly normal to share resources – this rose to two thirds (66%) amongst Millennials.
Jonathan Hampson, General Manager, Zipcar UK commented: “Today marks an incredibly exciting next stage in Londoners’ already-changing relationship with cars and moves us one step further towards our vision of a city where car sharers outnumber car owners. We believe that the freedom to be able to do any kind of trip, where you need a car without having to own one, has the power to fundamentally redefine urban mobility in the kind of sustainable way that will allow London to continue to grow and thrive.”
For more information on how to sign up and/or download the new app please visit http://www.zipcar.co.uk/flex