Last month I joined a car sharing get-up called Streetcar. The company reckons every car in its 250+ fleet of shiny new VW Golfs takes 26 private cars off the road, and that members drive 68 per cent less after driving. The basic premise is that you book via web or phone, pay £5 an hour and open the car with a natty smartcard. So far, my experience has been superb, with my apprehensions - lack of booking availability, crumb-strewn seats and cost - all being put to rest.
Where I live, I've been lucky enough that the car's a 7 minute walk and demand has given Streetcar reason to add another car to the area. With congestion high up on the news agenda at the moment, car pools are clearly one part of the solution - and a far greener and more efficient option than around 60 million Brits owning 32.9 million cars between us. Obviously, better public transport is the long term, properly sustainable answer, but that clearly isn't arriving anytime soon outside London.
In my personal case, I'm not going to pretend I'm keeping cars off the road, as I usually cycle everywhere. Instead I generally use it for picking up heavy stuff and trips where my bike, sadly, might be deemed inappropriate (a wedding in the middle of nowhere two weeks back, for example). The important thing if you're considering joining a car sharing scheme is, obviously, the car locations. Streetcar's got good distribution round my 'hood and London, while Zipcar's fleet includes some high-MPG-and-thus-greenish Toyota Pirus but none close to me. Citycarclub's another one worth looking at.