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Friday, February 5, 1999 Published at 14:08 GMT


Drivers share fuel for thought

Co-Drive Club: Reducing the number of cars on the road

One of the UK's most innovative car-sharing schemes has got off the ground in Leeds, with the twin aims of saving money and the environment.

Transport Correspondent Alan Whitehouse: Cash savings for average motorist
A group of neighbours have clubbed together and started the Co-Drive Club - sharing one family saloon between them and only using it when absolutely necessary.

One of the scheme's founders, Linda Strudwick, who has a part-time job and two small children to cope with, said car-sharing was "hard work" but worthwhile.

"You've got to be committed, but certainly where we live there is adequate public transport," she said.

"And with the money we save by not owning a car we can take taxis. Of course, there's always walking, which is great."

Money saver

Each member of the club pays £10 per month and 15p per mile, with discounts for all-day bookings.

The scheme has already proved so successful that the Co-Drive Club is considering leasing one or two additional cars to cope with new members.

Although relatively new to the UK, car pools have existed in Europe and the United States for some time. One pool in Bremen, Germany, has 2000 members and runs a fleet of cars.

Most of the Leeds club users admit that their priority is to save money rather than exercise any altruistic motives, like reducing pollution levels.

'Green sense'

The pressure group Transport 2000 confirmed that this was often the case.

"You don't have to be green for it to make sense to join a car club," said a spokeswoman.

"The experience from Germany is that the average motorist driving a middle-of-the-road car makes a saving of £1,800 to £2,000-a-year from joining a car club like the one set up in Leeds."

Government pressure to use public transport rather than roads is likely to encourage the creation of similar clubs and plans are already under way for pools in London and Edinburgh.

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