OxPA meeting
Tuesday March 24th 2009

Oxford’s First Car Club

Speaker: Andy Henson

We were fortunate in welcoming to our March meeting Andy Henson, one of the founding members of Oxcar, the East Oxford car club, who gave an informative and persuasive talk about its progress.

Oxcar is one of six Car Clubs being developed in various towns around the country by Commonwheels a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (www.commonwheels.org.uk). Inspired by Transition Oxford (part of the national movement campaigning to prepare society for climate change conditions) a small group formed last year and after several preparatory meetings, launched Oxcar in November 2008.

There are now about 100 members and six cars, with another two soon to join the fleet. Andy explained the use of the Smart card, booking and billing system. Booking by phone or on line can be as little as 20 minutes ahead of need. Ideally the cars are in use 30% of the time but if the scheme is over-subscribed, Commonwheels promise to provide more vehicles. There is no joining charge (apart from a returnable deposit of £150) and the only cost is £2.50 or £4 per hour + a small mileage charge after the first 10 miles (petrol, tax, breakdown insurance are covered by Commonwheels).

If people donate their car to the scheme they are relieved of all maintenance costs and are awarded 60 free hours per month – more than enough for many low car users, who might each be spending up to £3000 per annum keeping a car idle in their garages. The benefits include fewer car journeys, so reducing congestion, fewer cars competing for space in over-parked roads, and increasing the proportion of more fuel-efficient cars. There is also usually a sizeable financial benefit to the individual moving from car ownership to a Car Club.