Borrowing, not buying, a car to supplement 8Freight life!
By: Imogen Church
Published: April 21, 2017 (Updated: April 21, 2017)
Welcome again to the one and only guest blogger... MY HUSBAND STEPHEN!!!! Here he chats a bit about how to supplement your car-free 8Freight family life with the occassional car hire... like when your fiendishly selfish friends get married in a field in the middle of NOWHERE!!!
Most of the time we can successfully live with just the 8freight, associated other bicycles and public transport to get to all the places that we want to go to.
However there are the odd occasions where it is just not practical, especially as we have friends and family who live in quite rural locations and bus services to these locations can be very infrequent or non-existent. This then means that we have to find another way to visit. Taxis are an option but expensive and you are reliant on them finding you in the middle of nowhere. Therefore even though we don’t live with a car we do still hire them for these trips.
There are lots of car hire firms in Norwich with lots of offers on size of car etc, so you should be able to get something for your needs. We always hire the smallest car, as it is the cheapest and yes you can get a family of 4 in a Fiat 500, we have done it!!! Sometimes we get lucky and they upgrade us for no extra cost. We tend to hire a car for the weekend (as you have to pay a £20 charge to return a car outside opening hours of the hire car company) and this usually costs £40 to £50 for a weekend, so when we do hire we tend to do a bit of a tour of friends and family to make sure we get the best use out of it.
As a family we don’t need to access a car regularly and so the hire car option works for us, however that is not always the case for everyone and a cost effective way of getting regular access to a car is the Car Club route. Norwich operates at least two (that I know off)
The Norfolk Car Club: http://www.norfolkcarclub.com/
Co-Wheels Car Club: http://www.co-wheels.org.uk/
They both have a registration fee and a minimum monthly spend, £25 and £5 for the Norfolk Car Club and Co-Wheels. More details of costs can be found on their websites. For us it is just about cheaper to stick to hire cars, at the moment, but if we need to hire more than once a month, on a regular basis, then this is the route that we would take as it would be cheaper. The websites both give details of where cars are located in Norwich and the spread seems pretty good. They also seem quite good at adding on new car locations as demand is increasing.
This article in the Guardian gives a good overview of the pros and cons of car clubs including a case study for Norwich.
So if you are thinking about going car free or maybe dropping down from 2 to 1 car and using an 8 freight instead but are worried about times that you need to access a car then it IS possible to do that at a reasonable cost and certainly less than the average cost of running a car in the uk which is about £300 per month.