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Community group aiming to launch car club

A community group on the Isles of Scilly is hoping to start a car share scheme on St Mary’s.

However, Transition Scilly insisted that the idea is not about bringing more cars to the islands or asking anyone to give up the vehicles they currently own.

Secretary Andrew Combes told This is Scilly: "We know that some people need cars for all sorts of reasons. This is about looking at why people keep hold of cars on the islands and seeing if there are any better options out there.

"It is also about giving folk without a vehicle access to one - from time to time something bigger than a wheelbarrow is necessary!"

He continued: "Some of the common reasons given for keeping hold of a vehicle on the islands are the ‘tip run’, collecting For Sale on Scilly goodies and protecting the no claims bonus. We think we have something that can cover these points and provide access to vehicles in a growing number of places.

“By working with a mainland based car club, Co-Cars, we are looking to offer membership and initially a single electric pickup truck on St Mary’s.”

The truck will be available to hire by the hour. Meanwhile, membership will give access to the island’s vehicle plus any other Co-Cars vehicles (including electric bikes in some locations) in Cornwall, Devon and Wiltshire. "It also provides evidence of a continuous driving history, so reduces the stress of losing your ‘no claims bonus’," said Andrew.

On the subject of cost, there will be an annual household membership fee of £25 (two adults), with a hire rate of £5 an hour. “And yes these charges include fuel, insurance, breakdown cover, road tax and maintenance. Unless you need one every day it makes a private car look like a bit of a luxury item."

Transition Scilly is initially aiming to secure funds for one vehicle, with the intention of starting small and building something that will sustain in the long-term "rather than go for a big vanity project that falls flat on its face as soon as the grant funding runs out”.

Andrew added: "Given that we are running on electric and there is a chance that our project will mean that some folk will feel able to let their private cars go, we hope that Smart Islands will recognise and support our modest community-based approach and offer us some help with the initial funding for the vehicle.

"Failing that we sit down with Co-Cars and see how many promises of memberships we need down here to unlock a commercial finance package.

“Given the strong positive response from the Councillors and members of the public that came along to the recent Transition Scilly meeting we will keep plugging away. It will happen; we are just not promising when!”

Anyone interested in joining the Car Club is urged to contact Transition Scilly via its Facebook page or on 01720 423930.

There are currently 1,253 registered vehicles (DVLA 2014) on St Mary’s, which has approximately 1,800 residents and nine miles of road.

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