‘pay as you go’ cars

'Pay-as-you-go' cars are a new way to get the use of a car without actually having to own one 365 days a year. If you don't think you'll use a car every day, do the sums in terms of 'cost per hour' or 'days used' and you'll soon convince yourself to look at this new alternative. But you do have to live in an area that they operate in....

If you live in London or an inceasing number of the UK's bigger cities or towns then there's a new alternative to actually owning ur1stcar - you can have the use of a car by the hour, day, weekend or week!

The advantages

  • You don't have to buy a car therefore there's no money to find or loan to finance
  • You don't own a car so it can't depreciate
  • You don't have any of the running costs to pay
  • You don't have to find somewhere to park it

The disadvantages

  • There might not be a PAYG car scheme operating near you
  • You have to plan ahead

Generally, you sign-up at one the pay-as-you-go car company's website and are sent a swipe card. You'll have to give them your bank or credit card details so they can charge you. You find out where the cars are located and book them on-line. Using the card you get access to the car at your alloted time and then off you go. Re-swiping your card when you've finished will determine how long you'll pay for. You'll need to return it clean, ready for the next user or you'll be charged a fee.

City Car Club

City Car Club (which has recently taken over WhizzGo) rents in Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Sheffield, Southampton and York. There is a £50 annual fee and they have recently lowered their minimum age to 19. Find City Car Club locations.

19 and 20 year-old drivers pay a £10 per month additional insurance fee but this lowers the excess from £500 to a very reasonable £250.

Zip Car

Zip Car currently rents only in London, has a £50 joining fee and you also have to be over 21. Find Zip Car London locations. Zipcar bought out another PAYG company, Streetcar, a while back.

OptionC / Commonwheels

OptionC has recently renamed itself as Commonwheels and now rents inScotland, Norwich, the Midlands and the south coast of England in addition to Durham, Chester-le-Street and Newcastle. There is a £25 joining fee, a returnable insurance deposit of £100 and you have to have held a full licence for 12 months to join. Find Commonwheels locations


Do the sums, use the pay-as-you-go cars properly and you might just save a small fortune.

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