The Great 'Car Clubs Cost Cutting' Hunt



  • rcherryuk
    rcherryuk Posts: 17 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    We are members of both Streetcar and Zipcar so can only comment on those!

    I'd like to explain about something mentioned in an earlier posting:

    Friends on the Isle of Dogs have had local cars withdrawn (due to vandalism), without replacement – leaving them having paid an annual membership and struggling to get bookings for the remaining convenient cars.

    This was really inconvenient for us and was caused by an organised gang who were breaking into the cars and stealing the petrol card (you have to fill the tank if its less than 1/4 full,but you pay with this) and number plates!

    However we complained loudly and were given several hours credit as compensation.

    So far we've had a better experience with Zipcar, it gives you more inclusive miles and we like the fact that we have 4 different models of car to choose from, recently we had to book the BMW 318 as we had 4 big adults and luggage that wouldn't fit in a Golf.

    Here in E14 most of the cars are in well lit spots but we have found that the cars for both are often dirty, it's not uncommon to find takeaway refuse in the foot wells (and bits of car in the boot) and both have a problem with members smoking in the car when it's actually against the law to do so.

    For us it gives us options, especially as e are currently experiencing weekends out of 4 with no DR and Jubilee line as well as being smack on the diversion route for the Limehouse Link & Rotherhithe Tunnel, both of which are often closed for 'engineering works'

    I for one will be glad when the Olympics come as all the engineering works are scheduled to finish in 2012!!

  • pjw123_2
    pjw123_2 Posts: 28 Forumite
    Like a lot of other respondents, I have joined 2 clubs. Streetcar for driving in S London, and whizzgo for North East England. I previously shared cars with my best friend, and we kept up this arrangement for about 10 years. I worked out the cost of my half of this as 457.50 per year, before depreciation or maintenance. I drive very little, so it wasnt worth it.
    As an infrequent driver there are things I have not got used to. With streetcar, i tend to set off the alarm as I havent got used to central locking. Also as i am more usually a cyclist, i dont always remember about bus lanes. streetcar charge £10 to administer the PCN. OUCH.
    I am using Whizzgo tomorrow, for the first time. taking the train to York then driving to Middlesbrough to see OH. I will have the car for 4 days, which will be quite expensive, but will mean we can do a boot sale, and get around the beautiful countryside and coastline without having to wait for buses and trains.
    When I have travelled between london and the northeast previously, I have always broken the journey at a travelodge, which is extra cost.
  • Lexxi
    Lexxi Posts: 2,162 Forumite
    Street cars mostly seem to be around London. We've just offered the use of the pub car park where we are (it's our pub) You get free membership and a few other bonus' there's more info on the site. Trying to get OH in on it as his car cost a fortune and when we move we won't really need it as we'll be in the town centre
  • matchmade
    matchmade Posts: 58 Forumite
    Clearly these Carclubs are only of use if you live in a heavily urbanised area, have a lifestyle where you don't use cars very often, and don't mind all the time spent getting to and from where the carclub vehicle is parked. The only potential saving is on depreciation, maintenance, insurance and car tax, as petrol costs will be the same, or substantially higher given the mileage charges (which seem a rip-off given the unlimited mileage offered by many car-hire firms). Any savings may well be lost in hefty bus and train fares, plus car or van hire costs, and the car-club's own fees. Also, no one has mentioned these car clubs' policy regarding damage and scratches to the car: if they are ignoring rubbish and dirt or tobacco smoke, do they not charge if the vehicle is damaged, scratched by branches or vandalism, or left covered in mud? If a car owner loses a wing mirror or gains some scratches, they either ignore it or fix the problem themselves with zero labour cost: who takes responsibility for all this work at a Carclub?

    For myself, I live in the suburbs where the bus service is slow and unreliable and never goes to the locations I typically visit. I would hate the loss of the freedom offered by my car, which is basically a mobile shed. It's a 12-year old model worth about £650, so depreciation costs are tiny, and even if maintenance costs are higher than with a younger car, it's worth every penny.
  • Nailer99
    Nailer99 Posts: 131 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    thymely wrote: »
    Hope this helps someone...

    Thank you! It helped me - I just signed up. :-)
  • marklee
    marklee Posts: 66 Forumite
    Just thinking about the mileage charges:

    1) All petrol is included for car clubs. So when you pay a mileage charge, that is not on top of any petrol charges you're paying.

    2) Most car clubs have a free mileage allowance (usually 30 miles). TBH if you live in an urban environment, you're rarely going to go over this when using the car for going to the tip / ikea / etc

    2) If you do need to go long distance, then yes, the mileage charges are more expensive than if you were to use a hire car and fill it up yourself. So you know what? If you know you're going to drive a long distance, then you ditch the car club and go and hire a car form a conventional place. The whole point here is trying to live without owning a car - so you should use both car clubs (short duration / distance) and car rental (long duration / distance) as appropriate.

    4) If you're going a short distance and taxis are cheaper - again, take the blooming taxi instead of complaining about car clubs being uncompetitive - all they are is one transport option out of many.

    Car clubs really aren't for everyone, especially if you live in outer urban areas where transport is sluggish. But they can work really well, particularly when used in conjunction with conventional car hire and a strong public transport network. The savings you can make are even bigger if you're a young driver, or would be parking your car on-street.

    I spend maybe £1,500 on public transport a year (inc taxis / minicabs), and £500 on car club usage / vehicle rental.

    A quick look online reveals that as a driver with no previous claims or endorsements, if I had a similar car to the ones Streetcar use, and parked on-street in my area, the cheapest insurance premium would be £1,200, with the same excess that Streetcar give me. (Might just be the area I live in - many companies on the price comparison site wouldn't even provide a quote for on-street parking in my area).

    So car ownership would involve:
    Insurance: £1200
    Parking Permit: £100
    Road tax & MOT: £150
    Breakdown Cover: £80
    Depreciation: £1-2000
    Petrol: Anyone's guess
    Maintenance: Anyone's guess
    Parking (when I would have used public transport normally): £1/hour
    Hassle Factor of Ownership: Priceless (!)

    So personally, it works out a lot cheaper and easier for me.
  • JaneAire
    JaneAire Posts: 17 Forumite
    There is a postcode search so you can check for your nearest car club at

    re: Lexxi - You are right that Streetcar are in London mainly. As you are in Manchester you should talk to WhizzGo who do have cars there already.

    I work for Commonwheels which is a not for profit car club, running in Oxford, Reading, Portsmouth and other towns. We work with local communities to set up car clubs in places where the commercial operators are not. Commonwheels can fit our technology into any car, so our members can donate their car, or company pool cars. see for more info.
  • ebonylight
    ebonylight Posts: 838 Forumite
    Personally I have found this thread useful so far and hope others want to post and join in.

    I recently moved to London, and since I had a car crash in August (an ongoing dispute) I have never bothered to replace my car (which was written off). It has become more and more irritating and expensive to keep buying train tickets to visit friends and family at short notice in Leicester and so I looked into the car club as an option so I could do this more cost effectively and in a more comfortable manner as well (I do miss the luxury of a car even though I have got very used to the tube now).

    Frankly I am not put off by the cons that have been posted so far as they pro's outweigh them! Plus I am apparently too young to rent a car whereas I fit the age criteria to join a car club (where is the logic in that?!)

    Thanks for your help - I have come to the conclusion this is the best option for me!:T
    End of 2010 I was £8,007.66 in debt :(
    Today's total: £7,297.06 :o
    Member of The Blondettes:beer:
  • 4jax
    4jax Posts: 3 Newbie
    I'd endorse all that's been mentioned before. I joined City Car Club in October. I'm not a frequent car user and do use public transport wherever possible. A long trip is cheaper to use regular car hire.

    With a car club you have to give an end of hire time when you'll get the car back. If you underestimate the time, or get stuck in traffic, you get all kinds of unfriendly bleeps and reminders from the on board computer that you're late. Sometimes it's possible to pull over and increase the end time. If it's not you get fined and the stress of trying to get back on time is awful knowing someone else is waiting! So you end up overestimating your return time and that increases the price you pay.

    I also had my local car booked out from early in the morning and on arrival at 06.30 found it had changed to a model with automatic transmission. Maybe others wouldn't have been as thrown as I was - but I had to go back home, log into the system and find another car that was available for the amount of time I needed it.

    Although I'm using the system I miss the convenience of having my own car. Jury's out on the financial benefit though - haven't done the sums yet!
  • kwmlondon
    kwmlondon Posts: 1,734 Forumite
    As a classy alternative, check out the Classic Car Club (check them out a worldwideweb classiccarclubdotcodotuk if you want to have fun with your car. They are very expensive for not much time, but you get the fun of spending time in a Ferrari or E-Type Jag or classic old car without any of the service hassle or long-term ownership worries. I've been a member for a few years now and I've had a great time.
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