BMW and Mercedes-owned car-sharing company DriveNow has announced it is to cease options in London by the end of February, blaming a lack of demand and high costs of operation.
In a statement on its website the company said the decision “was not made lightly”.
“Although more and more Londoners integrated our service in their daily mobility behaviour we have had to face the hard reality that we could still not convince enough people to do so. To make our car sharing service successful in a city strongly depends on the respective market circumstances,” the statement continued. “The number of customers in London and their demand for our car sharing service was below our expectations and lower than in other cities. Furthermore we had to face local factors, like high costs of operation and the different circumstances in the single boroughs.”
Patrick Cresswell, managing director of rival, Europcar-backed Ubeeqo UK, said he was “disappointed” by the announcement and urged Transport for London and the individual boroughs to do more to aid uptake.
“It continues to be difficult for car sharing providers to gain traction and expand in the capital, and a shift in uptake and support from local councils and TfL is necessary to encourage future growth. Car sharing has a crucial role to play in removing privately owned cars off the road and tackling issues such as air quality, congestion and parking pressure,” he said. “Our goal is to serve Londoners who want to give up their own vehicle, but want the certainty that there will be a car when and where they need it.”
Company Car Today has approached Transport for London for comment.