Co-cars and Co-bikes are transforming travel in Exeter by offering on demand, shared mobility for all.
By 2050 it is predicted two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, requiring a revolution in how people travel within them. Some cities are already banning or restricting private car use and an increasing number are adopting shared mobility solutions with city planners, technologists and transport operators working together to combine car and bike share with public transport. The benefits of a shared mobility approach include a reduction in congestion, improved air quality and a more attractive environment; all of which support economic vibrancy and a healthier populace.
Co Cars has been championing shared mobility since 2005 when the car club was originally founded. The company now has the largest fleet of hybrid and electric cars in the South West with over 20 cars currently available in the Exeter area alone. In 2016 it was joined by Co Bikes, the UK’s first shared on-street electric bike scheme. Launching in Exeter with just 20 bikes located at 6 stations, Co Bikes has seen its users travel over 14,000 miles.
Co Cars and Co Bikes success is due to working in close partnership with a variety of stakeholders including local authorities, housing developers, private businesses and rail operators. Together they take a holistic, strategic approach to where cars and bikes are situated in order to build a city-wide shared mobility network. Co Cars and Co Bikes are also passionate about inclusivity. Many people will never be able to afford an electric car or electric bike of their own but can get affordable access to both using their services.
As one company offers two shared mobility modes there is no rivalry, allowing them to communicate the benefits of both. Cars fulfill a wide variety of functions including replacing a second family car or as a cost-effective alternative to company vehicles. Bikes are ideal for first/last mile connectivity and for cross city journeys that would have previously been done by car. Encouraging behavioral change by swapping shorter journeys for bike instead of car also supports a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Co Cars and Co Bikes are embarking on a period of rapid growth. 2019 has already seen Co Cars announce groundbreaking partnerships with both Exeter College and the University of Exeter, helping to support sustainable business travel for their many staff. A further 4 cars are due to join the Exeter network during the second half of the year, with even more in the pipeline.
Co Bikes is shortly relaunching with just under a 100 brand new bikes rolling out to 14 stations around the city with new locations including Cranbrook, park and ride, housing developments, train stations and large employers.
The impact the cars and bikes make on congestion is impressive. Whilst private cars are only used on average 3% of the time, shared cars are used on average 25% of the time. Furthermore, each shared car is responsible for taking 6-10 private cars off the road. Research on shared bike systems in cities across the world shows that each time a network doubles in size, usage triples or more.
Finally, Co Cars and Co Bikes are fun. Freed from the expense and restrictions of ownership, Co Cars members can drive any car, anywhere in the company’s network. Cycling electric bikes allows riders to enjoy the experience without breaking into a sweat so they arrive at their destination both energized and refreshed. Together, Co Cars and Co Bikes are transforming travel through shared mobility for all.
“By sharing mobility, we not only save money but also space on our roads, creating a less congested and healthier environment for all.”
- 66 household cars given up by members across 2017-19
- Up to 25% savings on business fleet costs when switching to Co Cars
- Over 5,000 trips covering a total of 14,000 miles
- 30% reduction in car usage & 15% increase in walking / regular cycling