If you want to get around London in the comfort of a car but would rather avoid motoring expenses, blagging a lift or grand theft auto, you could do worse than considering the new car2go service.
car2go, allows you the use of a smart car on a pay as you go basis. All you need to do is situate yourself in one of the three launch areas – Islington, Sutton and Newham – register on the car2go London website and then use the free app to find one of the participating Smart cars.
Once a car has been located, you simply touch your membership card against the reader on the windscreen to unlock the car, hop in, grab the keys from the glove compartment and drive away. Pricing starts at 35 pence per minute, £14.90 per hour or £59 per day.
You’ll need to pay for an annual membership, of course. This usually costs a smidge under £30, but if you sign up before the end of 2012, car2go will waive the annual membership and give you the first 30 minutes free of driving free. Car insurance, tax, fuel and maintenance are all covered and if you park in one of the participating parking bays, that’s free, too.
car2car’s pricing seems a little more expensive than those of its more established rival ZipCar. It charges a higher annual fee of £59.50, but has hourly rates starting from £5 and daily rates from £49 on a weekday. Weekend rental cost slightly more.
One thing in car2car’s favour is the fact you don’t have to return your rented vehicle to the same parking space you found it in. You can dump it in any car2car space in the capital or on any street where parking isn’t restricted.
“A lot of Londoners don’t need or want a car all the time but enjoy the freedom that driving brings,” car2go Europe CEO Stefan Mueller explained. “car2go gives the best of both worlds – the ability to go where you want, when you want – and in comfort – but without all the costs associated with owning, running and insuring a car full-time.”
car2go is available in 17 cities and has more than 6,000 vehicles worldwide.