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Up to the minute car hire

A new car hire business is set to change the way we hire cars in the UK. Even car owners need to hire sometimes and we all know the hassles of car hire. You have to turn up at a depot or airport hire desk, fill in lots of forms, try to avoid the extra insurance they want to sell you and then, finally, tramp across a vast car park to spend a happy several minutes trying to locate your car.

A new car hire business is set to change the way we hire cars in the UK. Even car owners need to hire sometimes and we all know the hassles of car hire. You have to turn up at a depot or airport hire desk, fill in lots of forms, try to avoid the extra insurance they want to sell you and then, finally, tramp across a vast car park to spend a happy several minutes trying to locate your car. When you return the car, you have to bring it back to the depot where you got it, which tends to be out of town, at an airport and nowhere near where you want to go.

Now German car hire company, car2go, are introducing an altogether more convenient concept. They say it is the ultimate in convenient urban motoring and their service allows you to pick up a car close to where you are and within 30 minutes of your request. You can then drive the car to wherever you want to go and leave it there; a one way hire that doesn't require driving back to a depot or specified location. The model is similar to that of another German company, Zipcar, but with some telling differences.

With Zipcar, drivers have to book in advance, pay by the hour and return the car to a designated bay. The car2go service allows you to pay by the minute, book your car as little as 30 minutes in advance and, outside London, leave the car pretty much anywhere in the city. The charge by the minute fee is 35p, up to an hourly maximum of £14.90. This is significantly more than Zipcar, where the hourly rate can be as low as £5, but the service is aimed at drivers who take short journeys and it is designed to be cheaper than the equivalent taxi journey. Drivers also pay a little more for the convenience factor of being able to quickly book a car.

The service entered Birmingham in May with 250 cars and has enjoyed early success. Users have been receptive and are using the cars for short journeys, such as to and from train stations, at fees which can cost just a third of the comparable taxi fare. The service is currently rolling out in London but experiencing some delays due to dealings with the multiplicity of boroughs there. Despite the frustrations of red tape, an on-street car hire service where you can drive one way and pay by the minute seems a welcome addition to our transport options.

 

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