This week, driving home from Swindon, my car was badly smashed from the rear by a careless driver.
Although well taken care of since her birth and very low mileage, my car's no spring chicken and I suspect that the damage is structural and that it will be written off. So we've started thinking about possible alternatives to full car ownership.
I know about the various car-sharing clubs and about a scattering of peer-to-peer car rentals schemes (where you rent a car from a neighbour). They do provide an option but there are sacrifices on convenience and I haven't yet even done a personal calculation of whether these options would even be cost effective for me. (An article in the Guardian from 2016 calculated that hiring a car from a car club for five full days in a month would easily exceeding the cost of ownership).
I can't help thinking that a halfway-house option might provide the right solution. I was wondering about how co-ownershp between a number of nearby neighbours would work. I found something on TechCrunch about a 'fractional ownership' scheme Ford launched in 2016 and I found something yesterday about a co-ownership scheme in the Bay Area (but I can't find it again - and I didn't bookmark it and can't see it in my history). I haven't searched exhaustively but I can't find anything on options in the UK. In fact most of the links for the UK seem to lead to information on how to own fractions of supercars or luxury vehicles.
Any knowledge / thoughts / ideas?
(And in an attempt to forestall any smart-alecs, yes I do walk, I do regularly use public transport and I do know that bicycles are an option).
If the car is an insurance write-off but still fixable within reason, you can sometimes buy it back from the insurance company and pay for the repair yourself.
Thanks Maddy. Yes I have had that as an offer. They'd deduct about 20% and said they'd be able to continue to insuring my car. So it's on the options list.
I don't mind the car looking a bit bashed, but I'd need some metal-wrnaging done so that I get get the boot closed.
Sorry to hear about your car. I think mine is coming to the end of its (gender free) life. So I will be faced with similar questions. My calculation is that car clubs may be cost effective for short hires (less than a day) but proper hire companies win if , for example , you need to go to Swindon for a couple of days. But they are still not cheap.
I think when TfL rolls out its Liveable Neighbourhoods scheme more widely the choice of owning a car will be pretty much removed. The introduction of cycle lanes makes owning a car much more difficult. And liveable neighbourhoods are coming to a town centre near you. But shared bike ownership looks to be getting more and more easy.
I and some neighbours have managed to share a garden waste bin. I'll pay some attention to the thought of shared car ownership. But I'm not immediately optimistic.
Thanks Adrian. My sense is that car-clubs are a few years off being a no-brainer. Still an option, but they need some careful things through / cost-calculations.
Glad to hear you've found a neighbourly solution to your garden bins.
We got rid of our much loved but barely used, diesel-fume-spouting car 18 months ago. Most of the time we don't miss it. The thing I find most difficult though, is like you say, there's no reasonable alternative. We pay £10-15 month membership for Zipcar but often go 2-3 months not using it. When we do need one, often we find it's already booked so we have to change our plans or walk a mile to the next availed car. The time we really need a decent, cost-effective alternative is when visiting friends & family outside of London. Zipcar hire for 24 hours plus is then similar in price to a commercial rental. If you find a scheme that offers a reasonable price for a 24 hour plus hire, then please let me know!
Mmmm, it’s not straightforward yet. Needs another few years in the pot I think.
We share a car with our neighbours who live on our road. Like us, with such good transport systems around Haringey they hardly had a need for a car but did like the convenience but not the costs!
They own it, the insurance, registration is in their name and they have priority but we pay half of all the car running costs. We have a Whatsapp group to check whether the car is available.
We have been doing this for a few years now and it works well for both families. We approached them as they are also friends and we knew they hardly used their car so it was a win win for both.
We did do Zipcar for a while but that is getting expensive and its stressful having to figure out how long you need the car for.
We have done car shares of various forms with other Ladder'ites for years.
Hope this is helpful.
Thanks Michelle. That's the sort of set-up I thought I'd be able to find examples of.
Given that no system is perfect, would it be indelicate of me to enquire after the downsides of an arrangemnt like yours?
I think unless you went with an insurer that offered no claims bonus for all named drivers then you loose your no claims after 2 years. This would induce a massive hike in your premiums if you needed to have your own vehicle in the future.
Hit from behind you say. Was your car a "hi-viz" colour? Anything else you think you could have done to minimize the damage to your car? I appreciate you were not wearing a helmet and it doesn't sound like you hit your head but I hope you'll consider wearing one in the future if you were not. Head injuries in car accidents are not uncommon. HTH. No actually, I hope you were thinking of me when you mentioned smart-alecs.
Not really. You’re smart but not usually a smart Alec that I can recall - or do you think you are!?
Well I'm just fed up with all the anti-cycling posts and victim blaming on here.
Knocked off your bike? What could you have done to stop that?
Murdered in the park? What could you have done to stop that?
Run into from behind in your Audi? Oh those rotten other drivers on the road!