Hertz has launched “Connect by Hertz”, a car-sharing club allowing members to use pools of pay-as-you-go vehicles in London, Paris and New York.
Members pay an annual membership fee of £50 plus an hourly charge depending on the car, and are then able to pickup Hertz vehicles at any time of the day from designated locations. For instance in London locations include Bayswater, Marble Arch, Shepherd’s Bush, St John’s Wood, Victoria and Westminster, with Kilburn and Maida Vale to be added in January 2009.
Members can reserve cars online or by phone, and receive an email and text message with the location and number plate of the vehicle. Cars are unlocked and engaged by swiping a membership card over the radio-frequency identification (RFID) reader, similar to the technology used in Oyster travel cards and the baggage tracking systems on some airlines.
From January 2009 Hertz will offer three types of car within the Connect scheme in London:
- The Ford Fiesta for £3.95 per hour (or £31.60 for 24 hours), plus £0.25 per mile (first 30 miles free)
- The Ford Focus for £5.95 per hour (or £47.60 for 24 hours), plus £0.25 per mile (first 30 miles free)
- The Mini Cooper for £6.95 per hour (or £55.60 for 24 hours), plus £0.25 per mile (first 30 miles free), available now.
Rates include insurance, fuel, maintenance, cleaning, roadside assistance and, significantly for London, congestion charges. The vehicles (which must be returned to the location from where they were picked up), are equipped with iPod/MP3 player connectivity and keyless entry, and the Mini Cooper also features an in-car satellite navigation system.
With Hertz and other car club providers entering the market in London in recent months, Mayor of London Boris Johnson aims to introduce 500 club car vehicles into the city in 2009. National car club charity Carplus has calculated that each vehicle takes up to 10 personal cars off the road.
Hertz plans to roll out the scheme to other cities and countries during 2009, and members will soon benefit from reciprocal membership at any Connect by Hertz city in the world.
For more information visit connectbyhertz.com.
Report by Mark Caswell