A pay-as-you-go car hire scheme operated by Co-Wheels, Norfolk Car Club, offers an affordable and practical solution to car ownership. As we don’t drive our commute to the office, it made sense for us to sign up to the car club for the occasional business trip especially with two car club cars within a five-minute walk from the office. This takes out all the hassle of having to drive our own cars into the office at rush hour and find suitable parking.
The process from beginning to end was simple and user-friendly. To be able to join you must be over the age of 18 and have had a full driving licence for a year. There are some other restrictions though, so if you’re concerned about anything, it may be best to check online or give them a call to discuss your eligibility. However, a quick driving licence check and a few other details is all that is required. Just two days later our welcome pack arrived in the post, a handy step by step booklet and our smart key card were included.
Next step was to book the car. Again, a simple online process (you can call to book if you would prefer though). We selected a VW Up! as it was the closest to the office and we didn’t need to have a more spacious car for this trip. All the cars are located in a dedicated parking bay, making them easy to spot, plus you never need to worry about trying to find a suitable parking space when you come to return the car.
When it came to unlocking the car, this was a bit different to normal! Instead of using keys, you just hold your car club smart card over the card reader in the windscreen. You will then hear a quiet ‘beep’ and the doors unlocking. For cars where keys are required to drive, they will be located in the glove box. When you usually put your car keys into your bag or pocket, it can take a bit of getting used remembering to leave them in the car each time you get out and when you end your booking! The cars are cleaned regularly and the Up! was spotless inside and out.
Insurance and fuel are included in the price that you pay for hire, so there are no hidden costs, also being a member allows you to use any Co-Wheels vehicle across the country (there are over 60 locations to choose from). Hourly rates start at £4.80 (for Norfolk car club cars) and mileage is charged at 21p per mile.There are discounts available if booking overnight or for a full 24 hours if required.
With more and more spaces being reserved over Norwich city centre and the surrounding area as car club parking bays, we can only see the popularity of this service increasing. Here at Smarter Travel Ltd, we will continue to use Norfolk Car Club for our business trips that need to be done by car – even some personal journeys too!
The Stoke Quay development in Ipswich has a Co-Wheels car located on site. You can find out more here.