South of England leading the way in car share schemes

Car sharing is a concept that has struggled to take off in the UK but it seems that their time might be about to come, with a total of 767,899 UK car club members in 2023, an increase of 38% from 2020. The total number of car club vehicles has also increased – to 5,167 operating across the UK.

The Department of Transport’s recent local authority car club toolkit emphasises that local authorities have a role to play in promoting car clubs by ensuring policies and interventions supporting car clubs are integrated with wider local transport and net zero strategies.

Specifically, they point out that car clubs can help deliver against wide-ranging objectives including:

  • achieving net zero targets
  • improving air quality
  • increasing vehicle occupancy rates
  • reducing parking pressures and congestion
  • offering a sustainable transport option that can fill gaps in public transport provision

There are a variety of car club models. Commercial car clubs, such as those operated by companies such as Co-Wheels, Enterprise, Hertz and Zipcar, a fleet of vehicles are rented out to users. The vehicle tax, insurance and maintenance are covered and usually so is a certain amount of fuel.  Typically, members pay a monthly or annual fee and an hourly rate to hire a vehicle.

Peer-to-peer commercial car sharing platforms, whereby operators such as Getaround, Hiyacar, Karshare and Turo, provide a platform whereby people can rent privately-owned vehicles in their area.

Then there are community car clubs which are run by local groups, such as Derwent Valley Car Club. These may offer users access to a small fleet of vehicles (similar to a commercial car club) or enable peer-to-peer car sharing. They may also offer lift sharing to users – where drivers and passengers with similar routes share a single vehicle, rather than driving separately.

Uswitch car insurance have recently published research into which areas of the country – by local authority – are best set up for car sharing, ranking the top 32 councils into tiers based on the number of cars available per 100,000 residents.

Councils Cars available Cars per 100,000 people
Luton 32 14.2
London 1119 12.7
Hertsmere 10 9.3
Welwyn Hatfield 10 8.4
Slough 12 7.6
Salford 20 7.4
Brighton & Hove 19 6.9
Coventry 23 6.7


Uswitch point out that the South of England is leading the way, with Luton offer of 32 cars in the area, equating to 14 per 100,000 population.

They also not that councils with smaller populations seem to have invested more in car share availability in their areas and so, in turn, they are outranking major capital cities such as Manchester and Birmingham.

With a population of 158,289, Slough has 12 cars available, overtaking major cities when factoring their larger populations. While London has 1119 cars available, per 100,000 population the capital city only ranks two positions higher.

Uswitch also looked at which areas saw the most Google searches for ‘car share schemes, finding that interest in car sharing was much higher in the north.

Council Total Google searches Searches per 100,000 residents
North Yorkshire 4,580 740
Manchester 4,050 737
Liverpool 3,110 642
Bristol, City of 2,850 605
Birmingham 6,040 529
City of Edinburgh 2,470 469
Leeds 3,760 465
Newcastle upon Tyne 1,260 422
Kirklees 1,780 411
Sheffield 2,210 399


Uswitch’s car insurance expert, Leoni Moninska said: ‘Car sharing could be a great commuting alternative for some. Not only does it help cut down car emissions by reducing the amount of cars on the road, but also can save people money.

‘With car share costs starting at just £6 per hour, those who take advantage of these schemes may no longer have a need to own their own car, cutting down costs on road tax, ULEZ charges, insurance and MOT charges. By swapping from owning a car to a car share scheme, this could save households a considerable amount of money, as well as being a greener option for the planet.

‘Those looking to opt for a short-term car share scheme may also need to consider temporary car insurance to ensure they have the right level of cover. It’s worth running a comparison online to see what deals are available to you, and allow you peace of mind on your car share journey.’



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