Co-wheels, the UK’s only independent national car club operator, has launched its car sharing service on the Isle of Wight with the aim of giving visitors, local businesses and residents access to an affordable, flexible and hassle-free transport option for getting around the island.
The car club implementation has been funded by the Department for Transport’s Developing Car Clubs in England programme, administered by Carplus and is supported by the Isle of Wight Council.
A special launch event was held on Thursday (13th October) at Quay Arts in Newport. Local businesses, and supporters of sustainable transport attended the event.
Isle of Wight Council Executive member for economic sustainability and development, Councillor Ian Stephens welcomed the car club to the island and said:
“I am delighted to welcome Co-wheels scheme to the Isle of Wight and thanks are due to the Department for Transport funding through which the Isle of Wight Council are able to support this scheme.
Environmental sustainability, reducing carbon emissions and car congestion, at the same time as enabling access to travel are important long term aims for the council.
Cllr Stephens added:
“Partnership working such as this is a great example of changing culture, recognising socio-economic challenges and providing opportunities for the Island, which is ideally suited for this type of scheme. The Co-wheels car club will help residents, visitors and commuters to reduce their reliance on their own vehicles and think about different ways of travelling sustainably. On behalf of the council, I wish the Co-wheels success in the launch of the car club on the Island.”
Car club usage is growing rapidly across the UK – over the past 5 years, there has been a sustained growth in car club membership as more people see the benefits and cost saving of not owning their own car. Co-wheels currently has over 15,000 drivers who have access to more than 600 vehicles in 60 locations across the UK. The new Isle of Wight fleet marks an exciting development, with vehicles being available in key locations across the island including Ryde, Cowes, Newport, Sandown and Freshwater.
After joining the car club, members receive a smartcard, allowing them to book online and have keyless access the cars. The high specification hybrid and low emission cars can be booked for short periods – from half an hour – or for days at a time at discounted rates. Hire is from £4.50 per hour, plus a small mileage fee.
To promote the new service on the Isle of Wight, Co-wheels is offering residents and visitors to the island the chance to join the car club and use the new vehicles with a discounted one-off membership fee of £10, with an additional of £20 driving credit. The special offer is only available until the end of October, and can be accessed by visiting www.co-wheels.org.uk/iow.
Richard Falconer, Managing Director of Co-wheels said:
“We are delighted to be chosen to deliver the car club operation on the Isle of Wight. This is an exciting opportunity to provide a convenient, sustainable and affordable way to travel around the island with a scheme that works for everyone.
“Co-wheels has already established relationships with local organisations, and we are keen to work with businesses and community groups to demonstrate the benefits of using the new car club. We have parked cars in dedicated bays close to ferry ports, and will be working with travel operators to encourage visitors to travel on foot, pick up a car, and explore less accessible areas.”
For more information on the scheme visit www.co-wheels.org.uk/iow.