Electric car club hopes to solve Bedford's parking problems

Good news, it's only £10 for the first year - bad news, it's in Riverside car park

By Clare Turner
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 2:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 3:11 pm

A new electric car club is hoping to make a real difference to areas such as Castle and Black Tom.

However, it is in Riverside car park by the Vue Cinema - which may put some people off.

Bedford Borough Council got the scheme - a first for Bedford - up and running with a yearly membership of £10, in partnership with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

The all-new car club

A Nissan Leaf EV can be rented from Riverside car park off Horne Lane for a few hours, a day, or longer.

Cllr Lucy Bywater said: “I’ve been working towards a car club in Bedford for a long time – since long before I was elected. So, it is great news that finally we are getting our first car club car in Bedford."

Cllr Ben Foley said: “Personally I’ve been car free for a while, so I was really glad to be able to join the car club as soon as I knew it was in operation. There are occasions when I do need use of a car and the current deal of a year’s membership for just £10 certainly helped too.”

Green councillors are, however, concerned the first car is based in the Riverside car park by the Vue Cinema.

In a statement, the councillors said: "We believe there is even more need in the streets of small terraced houses off Castle Road to the east of the town centre and in Black Tom, but we hope that this location is still close enough that people will be happy to walk from the areas where there is the most pressure on car parking space.

"We hope in time that the number of cars and choice of locations will increase as it has in other areas with car clubs, so that residents of these terraces will have car club cars closer, and the numbers of privately-owned cars will be reduced as many peoples see the benefits of car clubs instead."

The council says the car park is within easy access of the cycle unit on Horne Lane and a short walk from the bus station or railway station making it easily accessible

The inside of the hire car is coated with a substance that sanitises high touch areas for up to six months and the car is deep cleaned every 10 days.

It can be rented via the Car Club app or website - and once you're approved you can use the car straight away. You can also use the website or app to book, extend a booking, and lock and unlock the vehicle. You'll get a code to release the keys once you're inside.

The system tracks how many miles you’ve travelled and calculates the final cost at the end of the journey.

And if you sign up before January 31 you get an introductory offer of £10 for new members, which includes £10 driving credit.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said “It was a pleasure to meet with Enterprise and hear about their electric vehicle car club, a really innovative scheme taking place right here in Bedford.

“The scheme is ideal for residents who may be thinking about investing in an additional new vehicle or moving into the town centre, the car club can allow them to use a car when needed but not have the expense of owning a vehicle.

“Alongside the car club we have been working locally to make it easier for people to switch to electric, with electric charging points in our car parks including Riverside which is entirely electric or disabled parking, and installing charging points in areas where residents don’t have driveways to make electric vehicles an option for more people."

To sign up to the Car Club, visit the website and use the promo code BEDFORD10 to receive a discounted introductory offer*.

*First year’s membership included for £10 (usually £60/yr). £10 driving credit, valid for 90 days, applied once application is approved. Offer valid for Bedford residents only until 31/12/2022.