Co-cars car club launches in Barnstaple

Cllr Rodney Cann and Donna Sibley launching Co-cars in Barnstaple.

Posted on: 15 June 2015

North Devon has just taken delivery of the first of two Co-cars, introducing the district’s first pay-as-you-drive car club.

On Friday 12 June, a Toyota Yaris hybrid and two designated parking bays were unveiled in Barnstaple, at the town’s Civic Centre and North Devon Homes’ car park in Whiddon Valley.

Part-funded by Devon County Council, the Department for Transport through CarPlus and North Devon Council, Co-cars offers its cars for hire to members by the hour, with pick-up and return to the specially-reserved parking bays.

Mark Hodgson, founder and managing director of Co-cars, says: “Co-cars makes the whole process of car sharing exceptionally easy. We’ve worked hard to streamline the process down to a Click, Swipe and Vroom. Members simply book a car by clicking a PC, tablet or mobile phone, then swipe their membership card against the windscreen to unlock the car – and finally they “vroom”: drive off. It couldn’t be easier!

“This adds up to a very cost effective and time-effective option to car ownership for young professionals and families who only need to use a car for limited periods of time. It will also appeal to North Devon tourism businesses whose clients arrive by public transport, but who would value occasional access to a car in order to explore the region.”

Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Rodney Cann, says: “The beauty of Co-cars is you get access to a car when you want it and only pay when you use it. As well as saving you money, it’s hassle free and a greener travel option. It’s really easy to use and we hope it will give local businesses greater scope for travel in and around the district. For example, it means you can travel to Barnstaple on the train or bus and collect a Co-car to complete your journey. Or you might want to drive outside the district for business, without adding mileage to your own car.”

Martyn Gimber, Chief Executive of North Devon Homes, says: “It’s such an exciting idea. We are delighted that Co-cars will be at our Whiddon Valley site, giving people a little extra freedom and flexibility without a daunting financial burden.”

Individual and household membership costs just £25 per year, while business membership is free. Each hire costs just £3.80 per hour, with a cap at £33 per week day and £24 per weekend day, plus 23p per mile. Co-cars also has a range of multi-day discounts and regular special offers. Fuel, insurance, tax, maintenance and emergency cover are all included.

Co-cars is already operating successfully in Exeter, Topsham, Taunton, Dorchester, Weymouth, and Blandford Forum. Co-cars membership includes access to all Co-cars in Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

A member of the Co-cars team will be at the Pilton Green Man Festival on Saturday 18 July, with their new Barnstaple car. Their Pilton-based Development Worker, Donna Sibley, will be on hand to answer questions about Co-cars membership as well as about car clubs and the hybrid vehicle in general.

There are several memberships available for individuals, households, organisations and employees. for more information, go to www.co-cars.co.uk, call 03453 452544 or email drive@co-cars.co.uk.

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