Wednesday, 15 October 2008

A Streetcar named desire?

I’m quite glad that Worcester Park doesn’t have any petrol stations. They depress me too much. With the price of fuel creeping ever skyward each foray onto the forecourt sees me leaving £60 lighter and so miserable that no amount of their overpriced ‘woops-I-forgot-the-wife’s-birthday-again’ flowers could cheer me up.

It’s not just the price of fuel that hits motorists hard these days - add up the cost of road tax, depreciation, insurance, MOT, repairs and servicing and the average cost for maintaining a car and using it for just two journeys a week stands (according to the AA) at an eye-watering £2,700 per year.

It’s small wonder, then, that car clubs are proving an increasingly popular and cheap alternative to car ownership for those who only need use of a vehicle once or twice a week. The concept is simple - sign up to a car club and as a member you can pay by can book a car near you for as little as an hour at a time.

The car club phenomenon has now arrived in Worcester Park courtesy of the UK’s largest car club company ‘Streetcar’. They have three cars in the local area - one in Caldbeck Avenue (near KFC) and the two in Beaumount Avenue in The Hamptons.

As a car club member you simply book the car online (or over the phone) find the car in its allocated parking bay, swipe your smartcard against the windscreen to unlock the vehicle and off you go!

Membership of the club costs just under £50, with cars available to hire from just £4 per hour. More details at

2 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Adrian Short said...

Car clubs are a great idea for people who really need to drive themselves from time to time. The costs of everything you own are front-loaded onto that ownership rather than use. Pay-as-you-go hiring changes the model so that it then becomes more economical per mile to drive less rather than more.

I think Streetcar offer money or discounts to people who can allow their land (eg. an unused driveway) to be used as one of their car bays.

For an academic discussion of the cultural factors behind the shift from ownership to usage I recommend Zygmunt Bauman's Liquid Life.

Anonymous said...

Amazing that the local chavs have not vandalised something that is left unobserved and effectively 'unowned' for so long as its not parked directly outside someones house - but in a space screaming out vandalise me. Perhaps WP is looking up after all... or am I speaking too soon.

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