Liverpool is driving forward with its new car hire scheme, with the official appointment of a leading operator.
The City Council has awarded a three-year contract to City Car Club, the largest independent Car Club in Britain.
It is expected that the new scheme will be up-and-running by October, offering thousands of people hassle-free, pay-by-the hour city centre motoring, without the time and financial commitments of owning their own vehicle.
City Car Club members can use cars for as little as half an hour and collect them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from convenient city centre locations. The scheme will launch with an initial seven cars – and one van for business use – with plans to expand it to 20 vehicles by year two.
Liverpool City Centre Councillor, Nick Small, said: “This is great news for Liverpool. City Car Club has an excellent pedigree in delivering first class car hire schemes across the country, so I’m delighted we’ve brought them on-board.
“A lot of people in our busy city centre find it inconvenient to own a car, and the Car Club will enable them to remain mobile. It’s about offering the increasing number of people living and working in the city centre a low carbon, low cost and more flexible way of getting around. I’m confident that it will be a massive success.”
City Car Club operates in 14 cities across England, Scotland and Wales. Independently audited as the greenest car club fleet in the UK, it has significantly reduced emissions through the introduction of many new hybrid (electric/petrol) cars, an eco-conscious approach to motoring which it will be bringing to Liverpool.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Tim Moore, said: “Our city centre is busier than ever. We want to make sure travel is as easy and convenient as possible for residents and business people.
“The new City Car Club will give motorists more flexibility in their journeys around the heart of the city and will support our plans to build sustainable transport into everyday life in Liverpool.
“It’s an important part of our work to reduce reliance on car ownership, cut down on congestion and reduce emissions in the heart of our city.”
City Car Club’s Managing Director, James Finlayson, said: ‘We are delighted to have been chosen to operate the new car club in Liverpool. We regularly get requests from residents and local businesses to come to Liverpool, so we know there is strong demand for our hourly car and van rental service here. And along with our 29,000 members elsewhere, members in Liverpool will also have access to our 700 vehicles across the UK.”
City Car Club will focus on short business trips; trips in conjunction with public transport; and trips made by city centre workers, residents and students. The scheme forms part of the council’s drive to widen the choices of sustainable travel around Liverpool and reduce congestion.
About City Car Club
• City Car Club will launch in Liverpool with a phase one of eight vehicles (seven cars and one van) at the following locations:
– Preston Street (three cars)
– Moorfields (two cars, one van)
– Old Hall Street (one car)
– Brook Street (one car)
• Motorists will be charged an annual membership fee of £60, with the charge for businesses set at £30.
• The hourly rate for car hire will range from £4.95 for a small car, to £7.95 for a seven-seater.
• The hourly rate for van hire will be £8.95.
• Members can book vehicles online (desktop or mobile), by phone or by email. Bookings can be made minutes, days or months in advance – for as short as 30 minutes or for several days.
• Memberships are approved following the completion of a driving records check. All members are given a special pack with smartcard, online guide to the booking process and PIN. The smartcard enables members access to any vehicle in the fleet, in any city, without the need for keys.
• City Car Club operates in 14 other UK cities, has 700 vehicles and 29,000 members that make 200,000 bookings every year.
• Research by independent regulator Carplus states that 24 vehicles are absent from British roads for every one car club car.
• Car ownership in Liverpool stands at 52% of households (compared to the England and Wales average of 73%).
• The city centre resident population currently stands at around 35,000 and has seen dramatic increases in growth since the 1990’s.
• The number of commercial enterprises in Liverpool is now in excess of 13,500.
• Some 75,000 people are employed in the City Centre – 42,000 in tourist-focused services.
• It is estimated that 51,000 people commute into Liverpool City Centre daily. Of these 37% travel in by train, 21% by bus and 33% by car.
• Limiting the number of private car journeys and reducing pollution are targets within the third Merseyside Local Transport Plan (available at www.transportmerseyside.org).