Successful pilot scheme saves over £500k annually and secures partnership between LBC and leading pay-as-you-drive car network

Jul 22, 2013

Zipcar, the UK’s largest pay-as-you-drive car network, today announces a partnership with Croydon Council to provide a car club service to council employees. The agreement follows a competitive tender on the back of an initial pilot scheme, which saw Zipcar and Croydon Council achieve significant reductions in the council’s car usage, CO2 emissions, and overall travel costs.

In early 2010, Croydon Council launched a radical transport review in order to implement a more cost-effective and sustainable fleet solution, which resulted in the Zipcar trial. A practical need to reduce costs and ease parking pressures was combined with the council’s determination to align itself with a progressive "green agenda", by cutting carbon emissions and encouraging public transport and travel on foot.

The council also wanted to extend the transport options available to residents of Croydon, by providing public access to the car club vehicles outside of working hours. This "split service" model between private and public use, is a key feature of the Zipcar offering; catering to the complementary peaks in demand for both employees and local residents, and maximising the use of each vehicle, while minimising the need for car ownership.

The successful pilot scheme saw Croydon Council deliver:

1. A cut in car travel costs by 42%, from £1.3m to £756,000

2. A reduction in Croydon Council employee car users by more than half (52%), from 1,284 to 611

3. A drop in employee business miles by 42%, from 1.1m miles to 642,000 miles per year

4. A reduction in employee CO2 emissions by 36%, from 324 tonnes, to 207 tonnes annually  

Zipcar’s service provides customers with instant access to cars and vans, when they need them, without the need to own the vehicle. Under the London Borough of Croydon scheme, Zipcar provides exclusive use of 23 vehicles to council employees from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours, these vehicles are available to the 1,300 (and growing) Zipcar members in the Borough of Croydon, at peak times such as evenings and weekends. There are various models available under the scheme, including a seven seat Volkswagen Touran, a Volkswagen Transporter van, and a Vauxhall Ampera electric vehicle (EV). These 23 vehicles will bolster the existing Zipcar vehicles in the borough, which are currently available to Zipcar members all day, every day.

Croydon Council’s cabinet member for corporate and voluntary services, Councillor Sara Bashford, said: "We’re very proud of the steps we’ve taken to improve our transport scheme, and are committed to saving taxpayers money, while reducing carbon emissions. The immediate impact on car usage and costs is clear, and we’ve established processes to ensure our carbon emissions are checked and evaluated on a monthly basis.

"By 2040 our aim is to be London’s most enterprising borough. This is one step towards this goal, and it shows how innovative thinking and services can drive us towards being part of a more sustainable London, while enabling us to make substantial financial savings that benefit local residents."

Andrew Edgar, head of Zipcar for Business UK, said:

"At a time when councils are under enormous pressure to do more for significantly less, here is a clear example of just how that can be achieved, using car clubs versus a traditional fleet solution. Croydon Council should be commended for taking a forward thinking, innovative and sustainable approach to its transport offering, and for extending the benefits to employees and local residents alike. This is the largest local government car club scheme we have rolled out to date and the results speak for themselves, setting a progressive example that other councils can follow."

Zipcar provides a flexible, convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional fleet management that is aligned with the environmental concerns of urban residents. By using Zipcars as an alternative to a workforce fleet, local councils can help take private cars off the road and reduce congestion and urban traffic pollution, while benefiting from costs savings and efficiencies.

Membership to Zipcar is a quick and easy process for council workers and the public alike. Sign up on the Zipcar registration page, book and reserve vehicles online, and access the vehicle with a membership card or smart phone app. The powerful technology platform behind the service avoids fleet management headaches, by providing the facilities management team at Croydon Council with a clear oversight of the account in real time.

Croydon Council joins a growing list of local governments already using Zipcar; Kent County Council, Surrey County Council, London Borough Islington, London Borough Sutton, Royal Borough Kingston, London Borough Richmond, City of Westminster, Maidstone Borough Council, London Borough Redbridge, Royal Borough Kensington and Chelsea.

For further information: For media enquiries, please contact: James Read or Russell Barrow 020 3478 5044