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Need A Car On An Ad Hoc Basis? Try Co-wheels Car Club

Published on: 5 May, 2015
Updated on: 7 May, 2015

A cost-effective alternative if you don’t need to drive every day of the week is hitting the streets of Guildford.

Being a member of a car club is gaining in popularity. It means you can hire a car on a pay as you use basis. One firm, set up as a social enterprise and in partnership with Surrey County Council, is making positive inroads.

Co-wheels operates in over 50 locations throughout the UK and the number of members using its cars in Guildford is steadily growing. A reader offer with The Guildford Dragon NEWS entitles you to a free £20 driving credit. See further on for details.

Co-wheels' xx Gary Hitchens with Caroline Reeves.

Co-wheels’ development co-ordinator for Surrey, Gary Hitching, with Caroline Reeves who is a supporter of the car club..

The concept of a car club is to provide its members with the opportunity for short-term hire. It’s a very convenient and cost-effective way to have access to a car without the associated high costs of private ownership.

Co-wheels development co-ordinator for Surrey, Gary Hitching, said: “Many of our members use the cars as an alternative to owning their own car or a second vehicle. It also helps with parking issues, which is why Guildford Borough Council is also so supportive.

“We have cars located centrally in Eagle Road, Stoke Fields (accessed from Artillery Road) and Millmead Court. The Guildford club is growing nicely but we would like to spread the word through the right channels.”

Once you are signed up as a member of Co-wheels, you can pre-book a car near you online or over the phone. You take your Co-wheels smartcard along to the car, hold it over the reader and the car will unlock; no need to pick up keys.

At the end of your booking you return the car to its bay. Your debit card will be charged automatically at the end of your booking.

Look out for the Co-wheels logo on its vehicles.

Look out for the Co-wheels logo on its vehicles.

Gary points out the benefits of membership to Co-wheels. He said: “It’s convenient – you pay by the hour when you need the car. It saves you money – you don’t pay tax, insurance or maintenance bills. The cars are parked in dedicated bays, so you don’t need to purchase a parking permit, as is the case in some parts of Guildford.

“Co-wheel’s cars are cleaner and greener as we have hybrid and low emission vehicles in our fleet. We also have plans to grow the club soon by adding further cars which are likely to be electric or hybrid vehicles.

“You can hire a car from as little as 30 minutes, one week or more and prices start from £4.50 per hour and 13 pence per mile.”

Co-wheels is the only national car club run as a social enterprise and its aim is to create local benefit rather than commercial profit.

Guildford Borough Councillor for Friary & St Nicolas ward, Caroline Reeves, is a member of the Co-wheels club and is pleased that the council is supporting the initiative. She said: “From the perspective of a town centre resident with easy, close access to trains and buses, a car club membership seems the obvious answer for anyone who only needs to use a car a few times a month.

“There’s always somewhere to park when you get home, someone else is responsible for the maintenance, insurance and cleaning, and booking is very easy.

“If you want to, you can book a regular slot for the weekly family shop or after school activity, and the more car club cars there are in the town, the more choice of car there will be, and there should be fewer complaints about on-street parking issues. I hear that Co-wheels are going for electric cars too – even better!”

For a free £20 driving credit, use code GDRAGON15 when you sign up.

Go to to find out more.

One of the Guildford-based vehicles.

One of the Guildford-based vehicles.

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