You pay for the exact mileage driven (which you record on the simple log sheet in the car), using the rates in the charging structure. These rates are based on current fuel costs and the mpg of the car used. When the car needs fuel, members pay for the fuel they put in at the time, and are then reimbursed this amount at the end of the month (ie it is taken off their monthly bill). In this way you are effectively ‘lending’ the car club the money for the fuel for this time, and at the same time partly paying off your bill during the preceding month.
For insurance reasons, our cars cannot be used by learner drivers. Use is restricted to drivers aged 25 and over who have had a full licence for more than 2 years.
No, all members are covered by the group insurance we have with Cooperative Insurance. This is fully comprehensive cover (with an excess of £250 to pay by a member if an accident is their fault) and covers anyone of 25 years and over who has held a full licence for at least 2 years.
All cars have a named ‘Keeper’ who is a Member of the Car Club. These Keepers do regular basic checks of the car and arrange any repairs/servicing/MOT. It is the responsibility of all members to keep the cars in a good condition, and to report any problems that arise to the Keeper. We have a good relationship with our local garage and with the local VW garage where our current vehicles were purchased. Car usage charges are designed to partly cover maintenance costs, and so these costs are covered by the Car Club and contributed to by all members (in proportion to how much they use the cars). All cars have full breakdown cover as well.
The ratio of cars to members is monitored carefully, by looking both at car usage levels and unfulfilled booking needs of members. The car usage charges are worked out so that if higher membership numbers/car usage levels indicate a need for another car, the income from this level of membership /car usage will mean we can afford to run another one. Our members’ car use varies hugely – from 3-4 times a week to once a month or so, with an average of 2-3 times a week. Members don’t tend to use cars more often than this, as it would be cheaper for them to run their own car in this case. We currently have an extremely low ‘disappointed booking’ rate, and for the reasons given above this should continue to be the case.
If you live near our area of Hereford City then you are welcome to join if you are happy to pick up and return cars to the St James area. You may live only a short walk or cycle from the various streets our cars are parked in. If you live further away, or elsewhere in Herefordshire, and would like a similar scheme in your area, get in touch with us – especially if you know of others in your area who would like to as well. We are really keen to help other areas set up similar schemes, or even just to talk about the possibility so that you know what is involved in setting up such a scheme. You never know, we might have heard from someone else who is also keen in the same area as you!
Almost always, yes! You will pay anything from £24-34 per day for a commercially-hired small car, and this is before paying for the fuel you use. Our system means you can pay for just an hour or two (or less) if that is all you need, and 24 hours costs only £13 (you then pay for your fuel via the mileage part of the charge, depending on your exact mileage). Please see our charging structure for a breakdown of car-use charges, and for some typical journey costs. What’s more, our cars are situated on your doorstep, and can be returned at any time of the day or night! If you need a car for more than a few days in a row, it may be cheaper to hire from a commercial company, but this is not always the case, and depends on the size of car you need. Our estate car has the same hourly charge as the smaller ones (and just a slightly higher mileage rate). But our scheme is definitely more suitable for short-term car use, and although our members sometimes take cars away for longer, they tend to use other transport options / use a commercial company occasionally for these journeys.
Of course. A few of our members have joined with this in mind. There is no minimum time that you must belong to the scheme, and as the membership subscription can be paid as a monthly £6 (and any car usage charges are billed monthly) you could join for a few months only and test whether it suits you without losing much financially. You would lose the one-off joining fee (£20), of course, but this might be worth the opportunity to try out the scheme. We are, though, really keen to talk to all prospective members in detail about how the system works, what their potential needs would be, and answer any other questions. These initial conversations usually iron out most worries or unknowns before joining the scheme. We never pressure anyone to join, and are as keen as you are to make sure it is right for you and your household. Car Clubs don’t suit everyone, but we have all been surprised and delighted at how well it works for us. Giving up a personal car (which many of us have done as part of joining) can feel like a huge step, but it can also be a real relief and certainly has huge financial advantages!
This is not necessarily a problem. There probably are occasional times when we’d like to jump in a car at the last minute and can’t do this. But this done not happen often, as it is not often that all four cars are out at the same time. Bookings can be made as far in advance or as last-minute as possible, and members can cancel or change bookings at any time too, so that cars can become available again even at the last minute.
For any questions or queries about belonging to the Car Club, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We welcome any questions, no matter how small!