Living in a town, especially in a compact town like St Andrews, it is easy to think of a car as a luxury not a necessity, but giving up the freedom of a car can be a wrench.
So to have the best of both worlds - no car but easy access to a car - sounds to good to be true. Now, though, in St Andrews, the dream has come true.
St Andrews is a place of exiciting journeys and a point of departure for great ideas. I’m confident the E-car club will prove to be another of those great ideas.Derek Watson, university quaestor
The town’s first car club launched this week, with a fleet of electric vehicles that make access to a car easy, with none of the problems of owning a car.
It’s a partnership involving St Andrews University, the St Andrews Partnership, Renault cars and E-car Club, and at the launch event University Quaestor Derek Watson said: “St Andrews is a place of exciting journeys and a point of departure for great ideas. I’m confident the E-car club will prove to be another of those great ideas.”
It’s a bit of a change from petrol or diesel engines, but just a few minutes behind the wheel and - apart from the silence - there’s no difference from driving a normal automatic.
The procedure is very similar - joining the car club, a one-off fee of £50 (and just £25 until July in St Andrews) gives you access to the cars. Once the paperwork is cleared, and there is very little of that with just one form to fill, followed by a three-way telephone with the car club and the DVLA to confirm your information, you are up and running, with no worries about insurance, maintenance, cleaning, tax, fuel costs - all covered in the fees. Charges range from just £4.50 for an hour for a car, to £50 for a day’s hire of van.
Phone up or go on line to book your car for as little as an hour up to a few days, then mosey along to where you have been told the car will be. Wave your membership card over the gizmo on the dashboard to unlock the car, unplug it from its charging point, switch on, press the start button and you’re ready to drive off. And when you’re finished, just return the vehicle to the charging point, plug in, lock up and walk away.
No need to worry about range as the on-board computer will tell you the range is and where the nearest charger is.