Residents of Woodstock got together to launch a new type of car share group in the town.
Hiyacar, a sort of ‘Airbnb for cars’, offers a new type of scheme called ‘closed loop’ sharing.
It uses Hiyacar’s tech, insurance, and booking system which makes it very easy to manage but is restricted to a trusted group of people.
The car owner gets a fee when their car is used, and by making their car available to other people they can help drive down car ownership.
The launch event, which was organized by Blenheim in association with Wake up to Woodstock, Sustainable Woodstock and Woodstock Town Council, included practical demonstrations on how the new scheme works and explained the benefits of car sharing – including earning money by renting out your vehicle.
The scheme operates via an app created by the platform Hiyacar.
Once downloaded, users join a closed loop local group where they can either make their own car available, or hire another vehicle at an agreed rate.
Emily Kerr, who created the UK’s first neighborhood closed loop trusted car share group in East Oxford last summer, offered advice.
Following the success of her local group, she set up the ShareOurCars website to raise awareness of the scheme and help people create their own groups.
Ms Kerr said: “We want to make it easier for communities to share cars. Whether that’s local neighbourhoods, a church or mosque, a low carbon community group, a group of friends, family members or even just for a road trip, it can be easy to share your car with other drivers when you’re not using it.
“As I’ve learned from personal experience, if you don’t own a car, you’re much less likely to use one – which means you cycle and walk more, and get fitter.”
Hiyacar co-founder Graeme Risby also attended the Woodstock launch event.
He said: “Hiyacar aims to change local mobility by providing drivers and renters with a car when and where they want one.
“This doesn’t only make better use of some of the 38 million vehicles that sit idle for 95 per cent of the time, but also turns personal cars into assets whilst reducing ownership.”
Blenheim is providing two of its own electric vehicles to become part of the car share fleet.
Dom Hare, Blenheim CEO, said: “One of Blenheim’s goals is to provide a travel network that will enable 50 per cent of our visitors to arrive by public transport and other green links.
“An extension of that is to support and enable our local communities to have easy options to become less reliant on the car and this scheme is a great example of that.”