THE FUTURE of car clubs in Scotland looks bright, according to a report published yesterday (Mon) which points them in the right direction for expanding across the country.
The Transform Scotland Trust has published ‘Developing Car Clubs in Scotland’ which describes the benefits of the car pooling service.
The report also says that if action is taken now, car club membership in Scotland could boom from 3,500 today to 25,000 by 2014/15.
Professor Stephen Stradling, chair of the Transform Scotland Trust, said: “Our research points the way forward for car clubs to become a reality for people across Scotland.
“We have identified what is required for both commercial car clubs to flourish in our larger towns and cities and for the creation of co-operative or voluntary schemes in smaller communities.
“We have also set out the modest budget and the local, regional and national support needed for the further development of car clubs in Scotland.
Chas Ball, author of the Transform Scotland Trust report, said that car clubs are one of the most cost effective ways to reduce carbon emissions.
He added: “They also bring economic benefit, as members of car clubs can save between £1,000 and £3,500 per year over the cost of car ownership.
“Car clubs encourage a switch to public transport, walking and cycling and result in a reduction in car use and at least fifteen cars taken off the road for each car added to the fleet.
“They also encourage the use of lower carbon, cleaner vehicles than the cars people give up to join car clubs.
“Worldwide expansion of shared and pooled cars is set to grow rapidly and become increasingly important to car manufacturers as electric cars and plug in hybrids enter the market and are increasingly used by people through car-sharing clubs rather than direct ownership.”
The new car is the 98th addition to the Club and they hope to have their 100th by next week.
The new Toyota Prius is replacing larger cars in the fleet to reduce emissions.
Keith Stark, manager of City Car Club in Scotland, said: “Edinburgh City Car Club has continued to grow impressively and we now have in excess of 3,500 members and will shortly be launching our 100th car to accommodate the increasing demand.
“We are also launching in Glasgow next week and one of our high priorities is extending the scheme to Edinburgh Airport.
“Car clubs give people an alternative to car ownership. They can have a car whenever they need it without all of the hassle.”
As well as trying to introduce car clubs to the major cities, they are also seen as having great benefits to rural communities.
Morag Haddow works for Sustaining Dunbar, an organisation aimed at building a sustainable, low-carbon community, and is hoping to introduce the car club scheme in the town.
She said: “We have been asking local people whether they would be interested in a car club.
“We are at quite an advanced stage and we have had a lot of interest from the local community. We are now just looking for some support from the government.
“We are hoping to get two or three cars and we have around 30 people interested.
“Our main aim is to stop people having to buy a second car.”
Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change welcomed the introduction of the hybrid vehicle to the Edinburgh City Car Club and the publication of the Transform Scotland Trust car clubs report.
He said: “Scotland has the most ambitious climate change legislation anywhere in the world and our climate change delivery plan means persuading drivers to use more sustainable forms of transport.
“We commend the investigations of Transform Scotland Trust to produce a report that indicates clearly the scope for enlargement of the car club sector in Scotland and I also welcome the commitment by Edinburgh City Car Club to introduce hybrid vehicles to the fleet with carbon emissions reduction and improve air quality.”