Car sharing clubs – some ‘all electric’ and others ‘going electric’ – are springing up in towns, cities, Welsh villages and a Scottish island, writes Pete Blench of Transition Leominster. The clubs are proving popular in terms of cheaper motoring and environmental gain – each car club vehicle typically replaces up to 12 private cars.
As part of our Leominster Energy Descent Action Plan we are studying the feasibility of starting ‘LECS’ – Leominster Car Share. We hope the ‘E’ in LECS will eventually stand for ‘Electric’ but we’ll probably start with whatever is available – one 10-year-old petrol vehicle offered free so far.
A (voluntary) spin-off, for me, has been to pitch a discussion paper at Herefordshire Council to nudge councillors into making development of community car sharing part of the county’s climate action strategy.
We already have community car pool pioneers in our midst! Transition Malvern Hills founded one of the most successful car clubs in the region. Members reduce their motoring costs by up to half. MHCC runs 17 modern vehicles including a 4×4 pickup and the club’s first electric car. Hereford’s St James & Bartonsham Car Club got going in 2012 with “three old bangers.” It now runs 5 higher quality cars including its latest purchase, an electric vehicle.
Car sharing may not be appropriate for all but it can be a boon for households only needing access to a vehicle 2 or 3 times a week. Some of our low-income Herefordshire residents struggle to keep a car. The need to replace an aging vehicle can trigger financial crisis.
Development of car clubs can help meet important social and environmental objectives. That is being recognised elsewhere where clubs have gained grants towards car purchase from local councils and devolved parliaments (Wales and Scotland).
*Transition Leominster needs “expressions of interest” from Leominster residents for the formation of a community car pool – please send your response to: firstname.lastname@example.org