Reading Car Club
Reading EasyGo links expanding the car club with bike share and travel by bus through one multimodal travel card.
Co-wheels currently operates seven vehicles (two of which are hybrids) in Reading and the Council has just launched (September 2016) a major multimodal project, the EasyGo smartcard which links the car club cars, cycle hire (ReadyBike) and Reading Buses.
The existing car club has almost 300 members with a suggested high latent demand as Reading’s car ownership statistics reveal a high proportion of residents have either no or limited access to a car (28% of households do not own a car).
Since launch three further phases are planned by the Council. The first phase (which is underway), is the relocation of car club parking spaces from the Civic Centre basement to more visible street locations adjacent to ReadyBike docking stations.
Phases two and three propose the installation of new car club bays at strategic locations to connect with rail and bus services, ReadyBike cycle hire and key areas of high pedestrian footfall, to be implemented when funding allows.
The full launch of the smartcard, EasyGo, is planned for early 2017. This will involve the participation of five partners – Co-wheels, Reading Buses, Hourbike (contractor of ReadyBikes) and Reward Your World (provider of phone app Better Points used for booking across the modes of transport that have been integrated by the smartcard).
The aim is for the people of Reading to be better able to use the comprehensive network of services available through the card – car club, bike and bus. The card allows for joint booking and also offers the ability for joint marketing and promotion through a collaborative approach highlighting the possibilities of integrated journeys.
The introduction of the EasyGo scheme is central to Reading Council’s objectives (as set out in the Local Transport Plan). It aligns transport and land use planning to enable sustainable travel choices. It provides affordable, accessible and inclusive travel options for everyone. And, it reduces carbon emissions for transport, improves air quality and creates a transport network which supports a mobile, affordable, low-carbon future.
Prior to launch an extensive advertising campaign was run with decals on 200 ReadyBikes, on the information screens of Reading buses and on the sides of buses, plus on Council’s screens at the Civic Offices, libraries and leisure centres. Students were also targeted in the autumn as they returned to study.
Reading also operates a mobile phone app called Better Points. The app rewards sustainable travel (including walking, cycling and car club use) with points to spend at local retailers.