Motorists could earn thousands by giving up cars for public transport under new scheme

Toyin Owoseje
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Motorists could earn thousands by giving up cars for public transport under new scheme

UK motorists could be paid thousands of pounds to give up their cars under a new scheme, which aims to drive polluting vehicles off the streets and cut congestion.

The government-funded trial, set to be launched in Coventry this year, will give drivers cash to ditch their cars in exchange for public transport, electric vehicle car hire and bike-sharing schemes.

While the amount of money drivers stand to earn has not been confirmed, The Times reported it could run up to £3,000 a year.

John Seddon, head of transport and innovation at Coventry City Council, told the newspaper around 100 people would initially take part in the trial, funded by a £20m Department for Transport award.

“We see it as a variant of scrappage schemes of the past but rather than trading in an old car for a newer one, it is trading in the car for the ability to use other modes of transport,” he said. “For it to be fully effective we would want people to make the commitment where the car was at least surrendered for a particular time.”

The project, which is the first of its kind in the UK, was approved by the West Midlands Combined Authority and will see credit added to smart cards with the aim of encouraging motorists to “give up their private vehicles in exchange for a limited time period of support” to test the amount of money needed to trigger a long-term change in travel habits.

According to documents presented at the meeting, it will “stimulate a long-term sustainable shift in travel behaviour” among drivers.

The announcement comes days before the introduction of steep charges in London for high-polluting vehicles, in a bid to crack down on emissions.

From 8 April drivers with vehicles that do not meet new emission standards will be charged £12.50 to drive through central London, on top of the existing £11.50 congestion charge.

There are also plans to extend the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North and South Circular Roads in 2021.

Additional reporting by PA