Rental project steers people towards cheaper access to cars

Peter Gowland of HartlePower with Councillor Marjorie James and Paul Hewitson, also of HartlePower, with Councillor Kevin Cranney in the driving seat.
Peter Gowland of HartlePower with Councillor Marjorie James and Paul Hewitson, also of HartlePower, with Councillor Kevin Cranney in the driving seat.
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A pay-as-you-drive project to get people on the road for just pennies has been launched to get Hartlepool moving.

Two cars have been made available for hire in the town as part of efforts to offer vehicle access to those who are frozen out of driving their own car because of the cost.

This is a fantastic scheme and will make driving more accessible for people in the local community.

Councillor Marjorie James

Co-wheels Hartlepool car club has been set up by Hartlepool Community Interest Company, giving members a chance to rent a Toyota Aygo for as little as £4.50 an hour.

It also offers an overnight option, running from 8pm to 8am, which costs £9, with a 24-hour charge standing at £31.50.

Milage is a flat rate of 15p per mile on all journeys, with hire costs also including comprehensive insurance and breakdown cover.

The scheme has been scheme has been praised by town leaders.

Councillor Marjorie James, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s neighbourhood services policy committee, said: “This is a fantastic scheme and will make driving more accessible for people in the local community.

“Many people are excluded from driving due to the cost involved of purchasing a vehicle and insurance, and Co-wheels Hartlepool offers a flexible, cost-effective alternative.”

Membership fees are £25, but members then get their first £20 of motoring free with promotional code HART20.

Vehicles can be booked online or over the phone and members access the vehicles with their personalised swipe card.

One of the cars is located at the Transport Interchange, next to the railway station, and the other in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, next to King John’s pub.

If the idea proves a success, the club could be expanded into other key locations across the town.

Councillor Kevin Cranney, chairman of the Council’s regeneration services policy committee, added: “I wholeheartedly support this initiative which I am sure will be an asset to the town.
“Once members sign up, they can also use Co-wheels vehicles in other parts of the country which is an added incentive.”

Paul Hewitson, of Hartlepower, said: “We are really pleased to get the backing of Hartlepool Council.

“Co-wheels Hartlepool presents an excellent opportunity for local people to have access to a vehicle and is a cheaper and greener alternative to car ownership.”

For further details, visit www.co-wheels.org.uk/hartlepool, call (0191) 375 1050 or email info@hartlepower.co.uk.