Pole position for Bedford’s first car club

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(l-r) Dan Gursel, Managing Director of Enterprise Car Club and Mayor Dave Hodgson

A new car club has been launched in a bid to reduce congestion and air pollution across Bedford Borough.

The Bedford Car Club has been set up in partnership with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and will give Bedfordians access to a Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle (EV) based at the Riverside Car Park.

It can be used for personal use to help those without a car get around town. or those who have a car to reduce their car ownership, but still have access to a vehicle when needed.

Bedford’s Mayor Dave Hodgson also suggested it anyone “thinking of making the switch” to EV could use it as a ‘try before you buy’.

Bedford was recently found to have more charging points for EV vehicles than the national average.

A long road

The idea has been a long time coming. Cllr Lucy Water (Green, Castle) proposed the idea of a car share scheme or club in the Castle Resident’s Association Facebook group in 2016.

“I’ve been working towards a car club in Bedford for a long time, since long before I was elected. So, it is great news that finally we are getting our first car club car in Bedford,” said Cllr Bywater.

Before she became a Councillor, Lucy ByWater proposed a Bedford Car Club back in 2016.
Before she became a Councillor, Lucy ByWater proposed a Bedford Car Club (albeit with a different supplier) back in 2016 in the Castle Residents Association Facebook group.

Residents and visitors to Bedford can rent the fully electric car for a few hours, a day or longer, by joining the club at their website, or through an iPhone or Android app.

Once registered and approved, you can use the car right away, or as soon as it’s available.

The app or website will also allow you to book the car for future use, extend your current booking, and unlock and lock the vehicle.

Once inside the car, you release the keys stored in a locked box and you’re free to drive away.

Full instructions on how to charge using the electric points can also be found inside the car.

The car will also be clean and tidy for each user too, with the inside coated with a substance that sanitises high touch areas for up to six months. It is also deep cleaned every 10 days.

Once driving, a computer tracks your mileage and calculates the final cost at the end of the journey.

There is an introductory offer of £10 for new members before 31st January 2022, which includes a £10 driving credit.

Easy access

Speaking about the new club, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “The scheme is ideal for residents who may be thinking about investing in an additional new vehicle or moving into the town centre, the car club can allow them to use a car when needed but not have the expense of owning a vehicle.”

Dan Gursel, Managing Director of Enterprise Car Club, added that the service will “help reduce congestion and improve air quality”.

Riverside Car Park was chosen as it is accessible from the cycle unit on Horne Lane and a short walk from the bus and railway stations.

Bedford Borough’s Green Councillors have, however, said cars based in densely populated areas like the Castle Road and Prime Ministers’ area of Bedford would also be beneficial.

In a statement, Cllr Lucy Bywater and Cllr Ben Foley, (Green, Castle) said: “We hope in time that the number of cars and choice of locations will increase as it has in other areas with car clubs, so that residents of these terraces will have car club cars closer, and the numbers of privately owned cars will be reduced.”

To join the Car Club, visit enterprisecarclub.co.uk. Use the promo code BEDFORD10 to receive a discounted introductory offer.

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