Car share firm Zip in to gear
Car-sharing company Zipcar has announced plans for a major expansion in Tower Hamlets borough this summer.
The council has agreed to give the group 44 spaces in the area, which will see vehicle
numbers increase from 12 to 60.
Managing director Paul McLoughlin said: "Some boroughs have been quick off the mark to reduce car usage.
"It takes away resident's spaces with cars that more residents use, so it can be contentious.
"But Tower Hamlets has looked at the statistics which say every car-share brought in can take 20 cars off the road."
A roll-out of the cars, which will be a mixture of Golfs, smaller cars and automatic hybrids, will begin in May and be completed by the end of summer.
The cars will be placed over the whole of the borough, with many along the southern side from St Katherine's Dock, Wapping, Limehouse and the Isle of Dogs.
At the moment there are three close to the Wharf, including one on the City Pride pub.
"There will be none on the Canary Wharf estate but they will certainly be more spread around the edges," said Mr McLoughlin.
Zipcar began in America , but now has 275,000 members worldwide.
Members receive an electronic card which allows them to book cars on demand.
Hire costs from £3.95 an hour including fuel, insurance and congestion charge.
The scheme has received backing from Transport for London.
Mr McLoughlin said: "TfL has committed the funds to help boroughs put these spaces on the roads.
"But this increase in Tower Hamlets goes some way towards our aim of getting a Zipcar within five to 10 minutes walk of each resident and business in London."
London businessman Daniel Thomas Oluwole has relinquished his expensive £43,000 BMW in favour of using Zipcar.
Daniel decided to ditch his BMW 730D Sport due to the high car costs including insurance, MOT, congestion charge, petrol.
He said: "I was considering buying a new vehicle again. I thought how often would I use the car?
"The alternative was to not to have a car and use public transport. Joining Zipcar seemed a convenient way to have access to a car without having the hassles of owning one."
He added: "I didn't think my Beemer was worth it the insurance the tax and all the others costs.
"I still have the freedom of using a car without owning it. With traditional car hire companies you have hire it for 24 hours or the full weekend when a few hours is all I need."