Birmingham is to become the UK centre for trials of new car sharing schemes which allow motorists to collect and 'drop off' vehicles when and where needed throughout the city, it was announced today at the Birmingham City Council's 2012 Transport Summit.
The news comes as the City Council announced it is to enter a agreement with specialist car share supplier, car2go, to pilot a scheme which will uniquely allow motorists to rent vehicles for short trips within the city, without being tied to a limited number of pick-up or drop-off points.
This project will build upon a scheme already being trialled in the city with car share supplier City Car Club, who provide a number vehicles available to the public for short term rental from and to specified popular locations.
Cllr Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment and Regeneration, said:; “Birmingham is committed to developing a wide range of green and public transport initiatives to reduce both traffic congestion and carbon emissions within the city, and then country at large.
Through these projects we are keen to explore the potential that short term car share schemes may have, alongside improvements to public transport and walking/cycling links, in removing the traditional reliance on bringing cars into the city centre everyday.
The car2go pilot is scheduled to begin in autumn 2012, providing car2go members with access to a fleet of up to 250 two-seater smart fortwo “car2go edition” vehicles. The cars are specially developed for carsharing and can be rented spontaneously inside an operating area of around 50 square kilometres of Birmingham.
“We are proud to be chosen to build up Birmingham's first fully-flexible carsharing service,” said Robert Henrich, CEO of car2go. “Winning this important bid shows, that car2go is ready to quickly expand its service in forward-thinking cities which require an innovative mobility solution complementing their existing transportation infrastructure.”
Through car2go customers have complete freedom with regard to when they start their journey and how long they keep the vehicles without a mandatory return location. Unlike traditional carsharing programs or car rental companies, the car2go vehicles will not be parked at fixed stations but can be located at any legal public parking space. car2go is paying a monthly fee to the city council to cover the cost of any on-street parking and selected off-street spots operated by the city.
The scheme is specially made for short trips in urban areas. Customers will only be charged for the actual use of the vehicle, with rental periods as short as a per-minute basis. The rental prices and further details regarding the Birmingham launch will be announced in the near
A wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler, car2go offers an innovative mobility solution redefining individual transportation in rapidly growing urban areas by offering a network of several hundred environment-friendly smart fortwo vehicles for rent. It provides an innovative mode of “on-demand” transportation, which complements existing public transportation alternatives by bridging the gaps commonly associated with the “first and last mile” of a public transit commute.
car2go has already been successfully launched in nine cities: in October 2008 in Ulm (Germany), in November 2009 in the Texan capital of Austin (USA), in April 2011 in Hamburg (Germany) and in June 2011 in Vancouver (Canada), in December 2011 in Vienna (Austria), in February 2012 in Duesseldorf (Germany) and in Lyon (France). In November 2011, car2go launched the world's largest all-electric vehicle carsharing network in the cities of San Diego, California (USA), and Amsterdam (Netherlands) with the deployment of 300 car2go smart fortwo electric drive vehicles in each city.
A total of nearly 3.000 car2go vehicles are currently on the road and more than 70.000 members have registered for the service. In the course of 2012, launch is scheduled in Berlin, Stuttgart, Birmingham. Washington, DC, and Portland, Oregon. As many other European cities, Birmingham will be operated by car2go Europe GmbH, a joint venture between car2go GmbH and Europcar International Groupe.
For more information please contact Simon Houltby 0121 303 3503