A Henley Car Club has taken another drive forward this week with the Town Council’s Transport Strategy recommended to fund two hybrid Toyota Yaris cars for 2 years.
The original proposal was put forward by Dave McEwen of Henley in Transition in 2017 (now Greener Henley) with extensive research carried out by Dave and others. The Council investigated three potential suppliers for the Car Club and Co-wheels was chosen as a supplier. Co-wheels is an independent social enterprise, that runs 60 car club schemes across the UK from Oxford and Orkney to Wokingham and Tunbridge.
The Car Club would allow residents who drive less often money on the capital and running costs of car ownership including insurance, MOT, maintenance and repair. Users of the scheme pay a small membership subscription and then hire a car by the hour at market rates determined by the supplier (currently £5.50 incl VAT per hour, or £38.50 incl VAT per 24 hours, both plus 18p per mile). Each car has a fuel card and drivers do not need to pay for fuel. Booking is online or via mobile phone. Co-wheels supply comprehensive insurance and a 24-hour helpdesk.
Offering a Car Club also has environmental benefits to the town.
The project cost of £24K will be funded from Community Infrastructure Levy (money from housing developments) and 50% of it will be funded by South Oxfordshire District Council. It is hoped that within the 2 years that the Car Club becomes self-funding. In Lewes, the Car Club was popular and increased from 2 to 4 cars within the 2 years.
The location of the Car Club vehicles is to be decided and this will be discussed at the next Town Council Planning Committee meeting.
A target launch date, subject to Council approval, of 12 April 2021 is proposed to make the most of an anticipated increase in Car Club membership as we emerge from lockdown.