Isle of Wight Car Club
Isle of Wight launched a new car club in partnership with Co-wheels. The plan is to offer 10 vehicles (a mixture of electric and low emission) across the island aimed at improving transport for tourists and local residents. Currently 4 vehicles have been rolled out.
The Isle of Wight is celebrated for its unspoilt coastal towns and villages, but it is not an easy or particularly green place to get around, especially at night, and traffic congestion is often a problem in the island’s capital, Newport.
In addition to its 140,000 population the island receives an additional 2.4 million visitors each year. For local residents, access to vehicles is below the national average as are levels of household income and employment.
Following budget cuts from central government, and the end of local transport subsidies, the island’s public transport system is increasingly limited and there is a huge reliance on private car ownership, taxis or simply doing without. For many residents the local bus service now ends at 6pm, making some essential trips impossible without a car. A round trip taxi from, for instance, Ventnor to the island’s only hospital can cost £50-£60.
The car club plans for the island were developed to cater for both visitors to the island and local residents.
The car club was launched in October 2016, supported by Isle of Wight Council in partnership with Co-wheels with funding from the Department of Transport. The Council has developed specialist outside partnerships to help deliver on its promises to make the island more sustainable, reduce car emissions and offer more affordable transport options that meet the needs of residents, visitors and businesses.
Vehicles have already been located in Newport and Cowes with both sites being home to a Toyota Aygo X-Play and Toyota Yaris Hybrid. Further sites coming into operation soon are Ryde, Sandown and Freshwater.
There are several desired outcomes from the car club –
• social (reduced social exclusion and improved access to employment and services);
• environmental (reduced emissions and congestion); and
• economic (reduced household transport costs and encouraging higher spending from visitors).