This is part of Cardiff’s wider Sustainable Travel Plan which, if all goes well, will be implemented in other parts of Wales. The Council has already developed green alternatives that aim to cut down on cars, such as park and ride schemes, improving cycling facilities, and a drive to work car share scheme. They also plan to launch a new car club next year, to encourage people to rent out a vehicle instead of owning their own.
Hopefully the public will be inspired to take up a car diet for their New Years resolution. Less cars will mean a reduction in problems such as traffic, parking and of course the big greasy beast that is pollution, making the city a more sustainable and enjoyable place to live.
Cardiff’s sustainable travel plan:
Ieuan Wyn Jones, Transport Minister says, “Commuter levels in and around Cardiff have increased significantly over the past few years. This is an exciting opportunity to develop and implement a range of innovative transport solutions which will benefit the 210,000 people who travel into the city on a daily basis.”
Executive Minister for Transport, Delme Bowen expands on car sharing and car club schemes:
Cardiff Council is currently in the process of awarding a contract for an operator to run a car club in Cardiff. It is hoped that car clubs will encourage residents to rent instead of buying their own vehicle. “A car club, along with car sharing, helps to promote choice and the greater use of sustainable modes of travel.” say Cardiff Council.
Scientific studies and customer surveys have provided substantial evidence that car clubs can help cut down on toxic output. More Options for Energy Efficient Mobility through Car Sharing (MOMO) have provided a paper bursting with the advantages of car hire.
The club scheme does not only yield green benefits – it is also hugely cost-effective for users. People will cut down on the high annual cost of tax and insurance, with the car company responsible for overall maintenance.
“The car sharing scheme is part of the answer to dealing with Cardiff’s congestion problem and provides people living in Cardiff with another option for how they go about their daily business.” says Gwenllian Lansdown, a Plyd Cymru Councillor who backed an 100-strong signature petition last year, urging the city council to support such a car club scheme. “This scheme has proved successful in other cities across the globe and I look forward to it starting in Cardiff” says Landsdown.
A chosen car company will operate their rental service on behalf of the Council. If the scheme is successful, the contract will be renewed. Richard Drew, the South West Manager of City Car Club, is currently responsible for the plans in Cardiff. “We’ve been informed that we’ve been the most successful bidder but they haven’t made a final decision to say that we’re definitely going to go ahead yet” he explains.
The clubs would be aimed at people who would consider buying a second car, or those who are not completely dependent on having one. Users would pay a one off membership fee of around £75 and then they would pay around £3 an hour for car hire.
“If all goes well, we’re looking to start the early part of spring next
year.” says Drew. Before then, the company will need to decide where to base their cars. Drew explains, “what we’d be looking for in the first instance is people that know the area well that can suggest places where there’s real issues with parking.”
So how is the public responding to the Council’s Sustainable travel plan? “Feedback has been good so far, and car sharing generally is increasing. In Cardiff County Council alone there’s 18,000 people both recycling and car sharing. That’s looking good.” says Delme Bowen.
It looks like car slimming plans are running smoothly. Let’s hope the city won’t crash diet but will maintain a regular slimming regime, with healthy portions of sharing and regular car club rental.
Extreme car sharing:
Hitchhike to Romania.
How many people can you fit into a Smart car?