Find it. Drive it. Drop it.

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How car clubs are making urban driving a doddle

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Why own a car when you can pick one up from thousands of spots across town?
Why own a car when you can pick one up from thousands of spots across town?
Travel in London was famously grim for so long that brilliant improvements such as the Overground and cycle hire schemes have yet to fully redeem the awful reputation. And owning a car in this city is the one transportation experience that still badly lets the side down for being expensive and a load of hassle. And it only seems to get worse.

Instead, loads of people are now opting to live life without being tied to their own car, instead gaining access to drive off in one of thousands of potential vehicles across the capital – and a whole host of other European destinations too – thanks to a host of car clubs.

The idea is super simple. You can forget the financial onslaught of road tax, insurance premiums, depreciation, fuel costs, maintenance, parking permits and congestion charge and sign up to a club, using a mobile app, that covers the lot.

Not only does that save you money, but there’s all the drama that goes with sorting that lot out, let alone the reported average of 27 hours spent online shopping for a vehicle.

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Nifty urban runabouts at the ready
Nifty urban runabouts at the ready

One such operator, DriveNow, offers a unique take on this increasingly popular model, making their offer so easy to use it’s almost ridiculous not to join up. There’s no annual membership fee just a one-off joining fee then you just pay-as-you-go when you rent a car.

Their fleet of BMWs and MINIs are available across the 84km2 area of London in which they operate North East London, with a particularly strong focus around the lower half of Waltham Forest, but stretching across from Clerkenwell up to Tufnell Park in the West, Tottenham in the North, and over to Stratford too. With over 3,000 Leytonstoners already signed up, they’re clearly onto something.

Find your nearest available car using the simple mobile app, then drive to wherever you need to go in the area and simply drop the car in any residential parking bay – no need to even spend time looking for one of those dedicated car club spots. Find it, Drive it, Drop it – as they say.

On top of the convenience, there is also the obvious environmental benefit of sharing a car rather than leaving one parked up outside for most of its life. Car clubs are sticklers for clean vehicles, too, so you’ll always be getting a recently valeted car, more than can be said for your average crumb-strewn family runabout.

With so many arguments in their favour, joining a club seems likely to become the main way Londoners get behind the wheel in the future. Let us know what you think.

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DriveNow is currently in discussions with London boroughs to expand the service across more parts of London.

To join DriveNow for free (skipping the usual £29 sign-up fee) follow this link, exclusive to Leytonstoner readers

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