Innovative car hire scheme introduced for council staff

Caroline Pusey and Joy Moir, of Adur and Worthing Councils, have signed up to the HiyaCar scheme
Caroline Pusey and Joy Moir, of Adur and Worthing Councils, have signed up to the HiyaCar scheme

Adur​ and​ ​Worthing​ ​Councils​ ​have​ ​become​ ​the​ ​first​​ ​​organisation​ ​in​ ​the​ ​UK​ ​to​ ​join​ ​an​ ​innovative car​ ​hire​ ​scheme.

The councils ​have​ ​teamed​ ​up​ ​with​ ​nationwide​ ​car​ ​sharing​ ​service​ ​HiyaCar, which​ ​enable​s ​staff​ ​to​ ​rent​ ​a colleague’s​ ​car​ ​for​ ​council​ ​business​ ​during​ ​the​ ​working​ ​day.

The​ ​authorities​ ​are​ ​pioneering​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of ​keyless​ ​technology​ ​in​ ​offering​ ​the​ ​service,​ ​which​ ​is described​ ​as​ ​‘an​ ​Airbnb​ ​for​ ​cars’, a council spokesman said.

Councillor​ ​Diane​ ​Guest,​ ​Worthing​ ​Borough​ ​Council’s​ ​executive​ ​member​ ​for​ ​environment, said:​ ​​“HiyaCar​ ​is​ ​a​ ​simple​ ​and​ ​cost​ ​efficient way​ ​to​ ​undertake​ ​business​ ​travel​ ​in​ ​a sustainable​ ​and​ ​community-spirited​ ​way.

“It’s​ ​a​ ​win-win​ ​for​ ​everyone​ ​involved​ ​and​ ​will enable​ ​the​ councils​ ​to​ ​be​ ​leaders​ ​by example​ ​for​ ​the​ ​wider​ ​community.”

The​ ​scheme​ ​works​ ​at​ ​the​ ​swipe​ ​of​ ​a​ ​smartphone – ​no​ ​exchange of​ ​keys​ ​is​ ​needed​ ​–​ ​earning​ ​money​ ​for​ ​the​ ​car​ ​owner​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as making​ ​use​ ​of​ ​a​ ​vehicle​ ​that​ ​may​ ​otherwise​ ​sit​ ​unused.

This stands​ ​to​ ​help​ ​the​ ​councils​ ​save​ ​money​, ​because the​ ​service​ ​could​ ​ultimately​ ​reduce​ ​the​ ​need​ ​for,​ ​and​ ​costs​ ​of,​ ​pool​ ​cars,​ ​directing​ ​cash​ ​into the​ ​local​ ​economy​ ​instead, according to the spokesman.

There​ ​are​ also ​wider​ ​benefits​ ​in​ ​using​ ​sustainable​ ​transport,​ ​which​ ​promotes​ ​the​ ​social, environmental​ ​and​ ​economic​ ​advantages​ ​of​ ​a​ ​sharing​ ​economy, the spokesman said.

​These​ ​are​ ​among​ ​the councils’​ ​objectives​ ​over​ ​the​ ​next​ ​three​ ​years​ ​as​ ​part​ ​of​ ​their​ ​Platforms​ ​for​ ​our​ ​Places strategy.

Councillor​ ​Emma​ ​Evans,​​ ​​Adur​ ​District​ ​Council’s​ ​Executive​ ​Member​ ​for​​ ​​Environment,​ ​said: “I’m​ ​delighted​ ​the​ ​councils​ ​are​ ​leading​ ​the​ ​way​ ​with​ ​this​ ​innovative​ ​service​ ​and​ ​are​ ​helping to​ ​develop​ ​it​ ​by​ ​trialling​ ​keyless​ ​technology.

“The​ ​scheme​ ​is​ ​about​ ​connecting​ ​staff,​ ​building​ ​new​ ​relationships,​ ​using​ ​cars​ ​that​ ​would otherwise​ ​be​ ​sitting​ ​idle​ ​and​ ​enabling​ ​a​ ​different​ ​way​ ​to​ ​use​ ​funds.​

“​It​ ​may​ ​ultimately​ ​lead​ ​to fewer​ ​cars​ ​on​ ​the​ ​road​ ​as​ ​people​ ​share​ ​more,​ ​and​ ​therefore​ ​a​ ​reduction​ ​in​ ​carbon emissions.”

The​ ​service​ ​is​ ​free​ ​to​ ​sign​ ​up​ ​for,​ ​with​ ​HiyaCar​ ​receiving​ ​a​ ​small​ ​percentage​ ​of​ ​the​ ​rental cost.​ ​

Users​ ​simply​ ​choose​ ​the​ ​car​ ​they​ ​want​ ​to​ ​hire,​ ​book​ ​online​ ​and​ ​collect​ ​it​ ​from​ ​a pre-arranged​ ​place.

Drivers​ ​and​ ​cars​ ​are​ ​vetted​ ​by​ ​HiyaCar,​ ​which​ ​also​ ​provides​ ​separate​ ​insurance​ ​and breakdown​ ​cover​ ​for​ ​the​ ​rented​ ​vehicles.

The​ ​new​ ​keyless​ ​technology​ ​being​ ​piloted​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Councils​ ​works​ ​through​ ​a​ ​downloadable phone​ ​app​ ​which​ ​connects​ ​to​ ​a​ ​special​ ​device​ ​in​ ​the​ ​car​ ​that​ ​unlocks​​ ​​the​ ​car​ ​at​ ​the​ ​press​ ​of a​ ​button.​ ​

There is ​also​ ​a​ ​tracking​ ​system​ ​for​ ​extra​ ​security​ ​and​ ​peace​ ​of​ ​mind.

The​ ​HiyaCar​ ​service​ ​is​ ​already​ ​widely​ ​available​ ​to​ ​private​ ​individuals​ ​across​ ​the​ ​country.​

​If its​ ​take​ ​up​ ​at​ ​the​ councils​ ​grows,​ ​the​ ​cars​ ​of​ ​employees​ ​could,​ ​with​ ​their​ ​agreement,​ ​be offered​ ​to​ ​the​ ​wider​ ​community​ ​for​ ​hire.

Phil​ ​Makinson,​ ​HiyaCar’s​ ​Chief​ ​Commercial Officer​,​ ​said:​ ​“​Adur​ ​and ​Worthing​ ​Councils​ ​are setting​ ​an​ ​example​ ​for​ ​other​ ​organisations around​ ​the​ ​country​ ​that​ ​could​ ​significantly benefit​ ​from​ ​changing​ ​their​ ​current​ ​way​ ​of providing​ ​cars​ ​for​ ​business​ ​use​ ​by​ ​supporting peer-to-peer​ ​car​ ​sharing.

“We​ ​have​ ​three​ ​cars​ ​set​ ​up​​ ​​with​ ​QuickStart technology​ ​at​ ​present​ ​and​ ​this​ ​is​ ​just​ ​the beginning​ ​of​ ​better​ ​car​ ​usage​ ​for​ ​the councils​ ​and​ ​local​ ​community.”