An informal car club – using cars to reduce car use

September 2006
Adrienne Campbell

project started as an informal car club between four friends, known as the
Baked Bean Car Club because we drove a little orange car. Now it’s grown to a
10-person car club using a new Toyota Yaris that we bought in September 2009
using the car scrappage incentive.

How it works

The car is
parked on St Johns Terrace or St Johns Hill in Lewes. To access it you have to
book the car out on a web-based Google calendar and pick up the key from a
combination-locked key holder outside a house on St Johns Terrace.

Joining the
car cub involves a £75 deposit (returnable in the first 3 months). Users pay £2
an hour or £20 for 24 hours. Usage is recorded in a notebook and users are
billed for use at the end of each month, paying online to a Coop Bank account.
Drivers also have to pay 15p for the cost of petrol and this is paid at the
time of driving into a kitty in the glove box; this is then used by any driver
to fill up the car.

repair, service, insurance and MOT renewal and cleaning, tyre filling and water
and oil checks are divided up by the four founding friends.


occasional and frequent users report that the car saves them money. It also
saves time and is more enjoyable to share the hassle of car ownership and all
it entails. Having a new car makes driving and maintenance much easier. And
having 8 cars off the road means less traffic, less use of resources and less
use of fossil fuel and resultant CO2 emissions. The mild inconvenience of not
having a car parked outside your house, and paying per journey, means that more
travel is done by foot, bike and public transport. We have a special cross-town
parking permit that allows us, unlike most residents, to park anywhere in town.
And it just feels like the right direction to be moving in.

Further information

We are
members of CarPlus that supports informal car clubs as well as commercial car
clubs. There is another informal car club in Lewes: the Lewes Car Club, which
has been going since 1998. In summer 2010 Lewes District Council launched, with
our advice and support, another car club that’s open to anyone in Lewes to


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