'Next London Mayor must accelerate roll-out of shared transport'

CoMoUK sets out ideas it wants to see in mayoral candidates' manifestos

09 April 2024
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Candidates in the London mayoral election have been urged to make travelling the capital faster, greener and cheaper by committing to bolster the provision of shared transport.

The call is being made by national shared transport charity Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) in its manifesto ahead of the London mayoral election on 2 May 2024.

CoMoUK warns that the capital is “missing out” on the potential of shared transport and risks being left “way behind” the world’s other major cities unless urgent action is taken by City Hall.

Shared transport includes car clubs, bike share schemes, e-scooters, car sharing and on-demand bus services, which cut congestion, improve air quality and make people more active.

The manifesto says all candidates should commit to actively promote shared transport as an alternative to car ownership, as well as making 12 other recommendations.

These include a pilot programme allowing GPs to prescribe cycling to patients by giving them access to bike share schemes and offering transport credits to people who give up their cars.

At the heart of the manifesto is a call for an action plan ensuring that a comprehensive range of shared transport is available across the whole of the Greater London area.

London has embraced shared transport faster than anywhere else in the UK, with around 260,000 active car club users and 1.35 million trips being made monthly on shared bikes.

However, the capital is still lagging far behind cities such as Paris, where residents are now making almost 5 million trips on shared bikes every month.

A survey carried out last year by the Clean Cities Campaign also put London 24th out of 42 European cities when it came to shared and zero-emission transport provision.

The manifesto contains a series of recommendations to help the capital catch up, including the creation of network of ‘mobility hubs’ across the city, which would allow people to switch easily between public and shared transport.

Another policy in CoMoUK’s manifesto is for the introduction of incentives for drivers to give up their cars, as part of efforts to reduce congestion and pollution.

A ‘mobility credits scheme’ would allow people to scrap their cars in return for credit that could be redeemed on public transport or in the form of car club or bike share membership.

A two-year trial of a similar scheme has already taken place in Coventry, with the Department for Transport currently assessing the results. It led to hundreds of drivers coming forward to scrap their cars in return for credits worth up to £3,000, which they could spend on public transport, taxis, bike shares or car clubs.

Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK, said:  “London stands on the verge of an historic opportunity to improve how people move around our capital. Shared transport can play an even more major role on this in the future as we are unfortunately not currently making the most of the huge popularity of shared transport among people who live here. Provision is patchy and this needs to be urgently improved.

“Our manifesto contains a series of forward-thinking policies that all of the candidates in the election should be embracing to drive behaviour change.

“We look forward to engaging with all parties and persuading them of the numerous benefits of shared transport, from cutting road congestion to better health for all.”

The key points?

The six key advantages of shared transport highlighted in the manifesto are:

  • Delivering benefits with minimal or no subsidy. With more support it could achieve even more.
  • Reducing the overall number of vehicles on the road network, making it easier for those who genuinely need a vehicle to use them and freeing up parking space for other uses.
  • Tackling the cost-of-living crisis and offering a solution to transport poverty by providing access to individual transport modes without the need to purchase them.
  • Providing flexible access to vehicles without the responsibilities and costs that go with personal ownership.
  • Contributing directly to cleaner air and better health: car club vehicles are newer and less polluting than the average car on UK roads with around 14% of car club vehicles already electric, while bike share schemes provide easy access to cycle use.
  • Supporting modal shift and encouraging travel by public transport, walking and cycling.

CoMoUK’s manifesto for the London mayoral election is available here

George’s story

George Peretz, 56, from Hackney in East London, is a member of Hiyacar, which offers peer-to-peer vehicle rental. He and his partner gave up their private car years ago after finding they were not using it often enough to justify the expense.

“We use Hiyacar for going out to the country for walks, or going to festivals in the summer – sometimes we want to go somewhere you can’t get to easily by train,” he says.

“My parents live down in Dorset so we sometimes hire a car for that, we were there at Christmas and didn’t want to carry all the presents on the train.

“I’d recommend car sharing to anyone. It deals with the problem of doing things that are tricky by public transport and is far cheaper than getting a taxi. There’s also none of the hassle of going through a traditional rental company, where you have to visit an office, fill in 15 forms and wait while they try to sell you insurance.

“We normally use an electric car that is parked around the corner from us, so I don’t feel at all guilty about it from a green point of view and I can book quite far ahead when I know we’re going to need it.

“I’d certainly be in favour of expanding London’s shared transport network. For most people who live here, it would be quite mad to do most journeys using a private car.

“I often use my bike because I’m still reasonably fit and not particularly intimidated by the traffic, but there are lots of people who don’t tick both of those boxes.

“For them, having access to a car when they need it for certain journeys like going out to the country or transporting something heavy would be very useful.”

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