Wandsworth the heart of London’s new car sharing ‘zipzone’

Published: 25 July 2017

Wandsworth residents are now at the heart of London’s first car-sharing ‘zipzone’ which allows car club members to pick up and drop off hire cars on virtually any borough street.

The ‘Zipzone’, operated by car club company Zipcar, includes all of Wandsworth, along with parts of Merton, Sutton and south Lambeth, so local people can make one-way journeys across a large swathe of south London. 

Conventional car clubs require members to return vehicles to the same designated parking space, so this new operating model called Zipcar Flex is designed to give greater flexibility and potentially lower costs. 

Members find a nearby car using a smartphone app and are charged by the minute once they drive off. A trip from Battersea Park to Tooting Bec costs around £5.80 based on a 20 minute journey. 

Wandsworth Council has partnered with Zipcar to help drive up car club usage.  Local members are often able to give up the expense and hassle of private car ownership, which helps to reduce overall driving levels, reduce pollution and reduce parking pressures on local streets.

According to Zipcar, each household which joins the scheme reduces their car usage by 570 driver miles each year. Car club members are also more likely to use public transport, walk or cycle than the average Londoner.

There are initially 300 ‘floating’ cars in use across the ‘Zipzone’ with more likely to be introduced as new members subscribe.

Deputy leader of Wandsworth Council Jonathan Cook said:

“I’m delighted to announce the official launch of Zipcar Flex and I want to thank Zipcar for making this innovative scheme happen. It’s the next logical step for the car sharing revolution and I’m proud this borough is playing its part.

“Wandsworth Council has been supporting the growth of traditional car clubs for ten years now and we have the highest membership level in London with 14,000 registered users. Members are able to give up private car ownership and the whole borough is reaping the benefits with reduced traffic, parking and pollution levels.”

Jonathan Hampson, General Manager at Zipcar UK, said: “We're proud to be partnering with the borough of Wandsworth to introduce new Zipcar Flex, which moves us one step further towards our vision of a city where car sharers outnumber car owners. We believe that the freedom to be able to do any kind of trip, where you need a car without having to own one, has the power to fundamentally redefine urban mobility in the kind of sustainable way that will allow the borough and the wider capital to continue to grow and thrive.” 

There are currently four car clubs operating in the borough - Enterprise Car Club, Co-wheels, Ubeeqo and Zipcar.

Find out more about car clubs on the council’s website.

Steps the council is taking to tackle air pollution include:

  • In 2009 Wandsworth Council installed its first air quality monitoring station on Putney High Street to develop an evidence base around the high street’s suspected pollution issue.
  • A ban on day-time deliveries on Putney High Street.
  • Lobbying for higher capacity rail, bus, riverbus and tube services so more residents can switch from cars to public transport.
  • Promoting cycling and investing in the borough’s cycle network. Wandsworth now has the fastest growing cycle rate in the country according to Government statistics.
  • A rolling programme of environmental theatre productions in local schools to teach children how their travel choices affect air quality.
  • Helping schools develop school travel plans which reduce the number of cars used on the school run through initiatives like 'walking buses' and car pools.
  • The council's Smarter Driving campaign encourages drivers to take simple steps like fully inflating their tires to reduce their emissions. It also provides free vehicle emission checks in public places like supermarket car parks.
  • Free bike safety lessons for children and adults to give more residents the confidence and skills they need to start cycling
  • Making the borough more pedestrian friendly, including projects in Clapham Junction, Southfields, Putney and Earlsfield.
  • Introducing a borough wide 20mph zone to calm traffic and encourage cycling and walking
  • Electric vehicle charging points have been installed in key locations which enable residents to switch over to low emission electric vehicles.

For more information about the work being carried out locally to improve air quality, visit the council’s website.