Motorists who live in the South Mearns area, encompassing Inverbervie to St Cyrus and the Howe of Mearns are being asked to reconsider how they use their cars.
The ever increasing cost of motoring has meant what was an everyday acceptable household expense is now becoming a burden to some as money gets tighter and costs of keeping a vehicle on the road get higher.
An exciting new project is being spearheaded by Mearns Area Partnership (MAP) in association with CARPLUS a charity working with Transport Scotland to roll out a programme called Developing Community Car Clubs in Scotland.
The project was identified by the South Aberdeenshire Coastal Regeneration Priority Area Management Group in a review of Transport undertaken in 2011.
The aim of the project is to establish a pilot community run Car Club which will see two vehicles located in a Mearns Community, from Inverbervie to St Cyrus or inland at Laurencekirk, where they will be available for members to hire.
There is no investment required by members and vehicles are charged by the hour or the day. The hire rates cover everything including fuel as cars come with their own fuel card for topping up at garages en route.
The two pilot cars will consist of a seven seater vehicle, ideal for large families or community groups to hire and a small hatchback for everyday use. Members receive a smart card which allows them to access the vehicle in its designated parking place in the community after they have made a booking either online or by phone.
The car’s computer automatically relays the driver’s mileage and time used back to the administration centre and a monthly statement for its use is despatched to the driver’s home.
If successful the scheme will be expanded and may eventually see cars located in many of the main Mearns communities. The benefits of membership don’t stop there as members are also entitled to access cars in other communities across Britain as the popularity of Car clubs increase.
MAP Development worker Tony Archer said “It’s a great opportunity for our rural communities in the Mearns to be at the forefront of a new way of using the car. Car clubs not only save the strain on the wallet but help reduce the number of cars on the road which in turn helps the environment.”
Mr Archer added “Ideally we would like to recruit 15-20 members for the pilot project. At the moment we are undecided where to locate the first pair of cars and it’s likely they will be located in the community which shows the most interest.”
A survey to ascertain the levels of interest in using a Car Club is now available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MearnsCarClub or via a leaflet version available from Libraries and Community Centers in the area.
Membership is open to individual households as well as local businesses and community groups. MAP will be holding a drop in information evening at Inverbervie Library on Monday March 5, between 6-8pm and at Laurencekirk Community Centre on Wednesday March 8 between 6-8pm.