Citroen & WhizzGo The New Transport Solution For London

Citroen C3

Citroen C3

WhizzGo, the unique new car club scheme, is now expanding south and has just opened its first London operation, where it will be using Citroen C3's. The new car club offers inhabitants of the London Borough of Camden all the convenience of a car without the associated responsibilities and costs of ownership.

WhizzGo will be buying up to 120 Citroen C3 1.4i Desire cars a year as it rolls out its car club partnership to large urban authorities throughout the UK. The company was the first commercial car club in the UK to be fully integrated into a city-wide transport network, when it started its Leeds operation late last year.

The initial 10 Citroen cars for use in the London Borough of Camden - which will shortly be followed by a further 10 C3's - all have Nicholson McLaren LPG conversions and are thus exempt from London’s daily £5.00 Congestion Charge. The C3 Desires are operated on three year, 30,000 mile HSBC Vehicle Leasing contract hire agreements.

Like the other Citroen C3's already being operated by WhizzGo in Leeds and other parts of the country, the London-based cars are fitted with advanced INVERS onboard smart card recognition equipment. This restricts access/usage of the car to the member that has booked it and also records time and distance for each hire.

The first WhizzGo London operation, which is supported by Transport for London, was launched by Charlotte Atkins, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport. The minister commented, "Car clubs shine out like a beacon of rationality on our congested streets."

Charlotte Morton, WhizzGo’s managing director, explains, "We can now provide a unique transport proposition for people living in the London Borough of Camden. Without the major cost of owning a car in London they can hire a comfortable Citroen C3 for those trips which cannot be easily carried out on foot, bike, bus, tube or train."

The London Borough of Camden will be providing at least 20 special on-street WhizzGo free car parking bays throughout the borough where members can collect and leave the C3 cars. Members of WhizzGo, dependent on which of the six levels of membership they have selected, benefit from the use of new Citroen C3 cars at very competitive hire rates, ranging from just £3.95 per hour.

Once members have been issued with a ismart card they gain access to the car club’s Citroen C3s by booking on the internet (www.WhizzGo.co.uk ). The club member is then allocated the nearest available C3 car - which will be within a few minutes walking distance. The booking information is relayed to the car’s INVERS on-board computer. The club member gains access to the vehicle using the smart card and, after entering an individual pin number, drives away. At the end of the hire period the vehicle is returned to the WhizzGo parking bay it was originally collected from.

From its experiences in Leeds WhizzGo believes its new London Borough of Camden car club scheme will appeal to urban dwellers, business people who use public transport to get to work, but need a car to meet clients or for other business during the day, and families wanting the use of a second car without the additional financial implications that this would normally entail.

WhizzGo expects to announce further car club operations in London shortly, as well as being in negotiations with many other UK urban authorities. In addition to its urban operations, the Company also provides its technology, management experience and Citroen C3 cars to rural car club schemes, most recently with Cars4U in Richmondshire and Hambleton, in North Yorkshire, which was launched by William Hague in February.

Published 25 March 2005 Melanie Carter

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