Shared Mobility by Region: UK and Ireland

This month on our shared mobility by region series, we will be delving into the shared mobility offerings of the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

There are a few initiatives in the UK that are working towards building mobility services and integrating technologies. An example of this is the Interreg North Sea Region Project “SHARE-North.” CoMoUK will be working with EU partners over the next three years to raise the profile of shared transport solutions as part of the SHARE-North project.

The aim is to develop, implement, promote and assess shared transport options such as car clubs, bike share, ride sharing and other shared transport options.

Last year the UK government began work on its Future of Mobility Grand Challenge focusing on two goals. The first, on improving first mile/last mile transportation connections, with a focus on electric vehicles and microtransit. The second addresses new technologies within the field and the urban transport trends.

Overall, the schemes main goal is to improve transport systems within the United Kingdom and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In this month’s ‘Shared Mobility by Region’ article, we will be focusing on the current shared mobility platforms and services on offer in the UK and Ireland, including carshare, bike share and ride-hailing providers and the future of electric scooter sharing.

To read more articles in our Shared Mobility By Region series, click here.

Shared Mobility by Region: uk and ireland

Car Share Market in the Uk

co-wheels car share

In July 2018, the Warwick Business School academics completed research showing that users of the sharing economy, within the UK, grew by 60% since the beginning of 2017. Interestingly, 78% of those who take part in the sharing economy are 18-24 year olds but only 23% of the UK population uses platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, Taskrabbit etc.

However, the growth and usage of car sharing platforms have been increasing at a much slower rate. One-way car-sharing is in its infancy in the UK compared to other European cities. In the UK, car share services are know as car clubs. Below shows a table of the frequency of use, among current car club users within the region.

Screenshot 2019 05 09 at 11.59.01

However, car clubs have began to build a solid base within UK cities and according to CoMoUk, there are 6 big car club players operating in 37 towns and cities across the UK, representing more than 64,177 members. London has 75% of all car club vehicles.



Co-wheels is the only independently-owned national car club, providing low emission, hybrid and electric cars on a pay-as-you-go basis for organisations and communities across the UK. The company hosts car clubs in over 60 locations across the UK with a diverse range of operations, from city centres to villages. Local ownership of their operations is encouraged.


DriveNow is now part of SHARE NOW, which is the car sharing brand of the new joint-venture between BMW Group and Daimler AG. The DriveNow Zone now covers 9 boroughs of London including Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Barnet and Brent, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.

The company allows the user to choose a ‘drive by the minute’ option or to book an hourly or daily package. Everything is included in the rental price – insurance, fuel, parking, road tax, and the rental of a premium BMW or MINI, with no annual or monthly fees.


Enterprise Car Club has a large fleet of cars and vans spread across over 40 UK cities. Their vehicles are parked in their own designated bays and can be reserved for as little as half an hour, a day, or as long as needed. However, they adopt a traditional model of service and at the end of a trip, the vehicles must be returned to the same designated parking bay.

E-Car Club

This is the UK’s first entirely electric pay-per-use car club, operating in 23 cities across the United Kingdom. They offer both a pay-as-you and a subscription model for their shared electric vehicles and do not believe in dynamic pricing or surge charging.

Hertz 24/7

Hertz 24/7 is an accredited, commercial car club operating in London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and New York, specialising in van hire by the hour.


Zipcar is the world’s largest car club network currently operating in London, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge and another 50+ cities across Europe and North America.

According to the company, “One Zipcar represents 10 privately owned vehicles taken off the road in the London area over the past 12 months.”


Peer-to-peer carsharing has become very popular within the UK. HiyaCar is a peer-to-peer car sharing platform, that helps people who own a car to earn extra money by renting it to those who want to drive. HiyaCar also provides car insurance in association with Axa. The start-up has over 50,000 members across the UK who are lending their vehicles out to their neighbours, or hiring themselves and helping to put idle cars to good use.

Hiyacar is part of a number of car hire companies focused on sharing, such as Drivy – which was very recently acquired by Getaround, the peer-to-peer car-sharing startup that launched at TC Disrupt back in 2011. Another peer-to-peer car share company to launch in the UK, Turo. Following their peer-to-peer launch in Canada in 2016, the UK marks Turo’s fourth country with full peer-to-peer marketplace.

ride hailing market in the uk 

ride hailing UK

Of course, everyone knows that Uber is a ride hail company operating internationally, and the UK is no exception. Even though their price surges are becoming more frequent in London, they are often the cheapest and most reliable service available in the capital.

However, after being accused of failing to report alleged crimes or conduct proper background checks on drivers, in June 2018 it was given a 15-month probationary licence after making changes to its safety and security procedures.

There are two rival companies hoping to knock Uber of the top ride-hailing position within the UK. The first is Hopp (previously Taxify/Bolt) hoping to win back its London operating license. The second is the Bangalore-based startup, Ola. The company launched in Liverpool this year, adding to its operations in Cardiff, Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Reading, Birmingham and Manchester.

There are a few other alternative ride hail options operating in London and across other UK cities and they are:


Taxiapp UK is a non-profit co-operative owned and operated by black cab drivers. As such it has the best claim to be supporting the traditional industry, and is primarily about combining an old service with the convenience of on-demand.

Like bigger ride-hailing players, its free app lets you locate and order a black cab while tracking its progress. It’s also easy to make an advance booking. Payment is through cash, card or the app. All vehicles are wheelchair accessible.


One of the most established taxi brands within London is Addison Lee and contains Europe’s largest executive suite. It offers a business account which offers a guaranteed executive vehicle within ten minutes and a portal to help you manage multiple bookings. Addison Lee has over 4,800 cars available in central London including London’s largest executive fleet of Mercedes cars and largest eco-friendly Toyota Prius flee


Gett is another black cab-hailing app, though not a non-profit like TaxiApp. Its corporate services are available in 135 countries and last year became the UK’s first ride-hailing app with the option to book exclusively electric taxis.


Established in response to concerns about driver behaviour, London Lady Chauffeurs operates 24/7, has vehicles from a Mercedes E-class to a seven-seat MPV, and employs a team of licensed drivers who are all women. It’s a professional car service for women and unaccompanied children.


Formally called MyTaxi, FreeNow is part of the Daimler/BMW ShareNow brand. It is a Europe-wide app and service operating in London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and Reading, and claims to have ten million users.


There have been significant new developments in the regulation of taxis, private hire vehicles and ride-hailing within the United Kingdom following an independent review of the sector known as the “Task and Finish Group”.

The Government has said that it will bring forward legislation which will introduce national minimum licensing standards covering a range of areas that should be considered, including:

  • in-vehicle video recording;
  • policy towards those with previous criminal convictions;
  • how long licences should last; and
  • mandatory training for drivers on disability, equalities and identifying signs of exploitation or abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

uk micro mobility 

bike share UK

London and other cities in the UK currently have 14 operational bike share schemes in including mobike, nextbike, App-Bike and electric bike share, co-bikes. When ofo landed in the UK, it immediately angered councils which weren’t warned that hundreds of bright yellow bikes were about to be launched onto the streets of the capital and other major cities.

But in January, ofo followed oBike and Urbo to become the third dockless operator to withdraw from Britain in just over a year. The company claimed to be facing too many challenges that included a low revenue stream as well as theft and vandalism.

However, Lime has not been deterred by its counterparts exit from the UK market and appears to have learned from some of the mistakes of its non-electric rivals. Lime is working with two councils, Ealing and Brent, on a staggered rollout following their successful launch of 50 e-bikes in Milton Keynes last November.

e-scooter sharing

The UK currently has a 30 year ban on electric scooters, Segways and hoverboards. Jesse Norman, the transport minister, has recently said he would “look quite closely” at finding a long term solution of allowing e-scooters and similar vehicles on the road – potentially through a permit or licensing system.

In the meantime, US company Bird is set to launch the UK’s first scooter-hire service in the capital, but it only has permission to do so along a single path in the east London Olympic Park. Bird’s UK head Richard Corbett says, the UK is “the most highly regulated and restrictive market for this kind of product, globally” which is why the trial is limited to this one location. If successful, however, perhaps we will see a shift in legislation with regards to the future of micro mobility within the UK.

autonomous vehicles in the uk

The current code of practice with regards to autonomous vehicles in the UK allows for the automated vehicles to be tested on any road, but only with a remote driver in the vehicle. However, the government are in the process of updating the current code to allow for driverless testing. The new code with include an expectation on those carrying out trials to publish safety information; trial performance reports; and to carry out risks assessments before conducting a trial. According to Richard Harrington, automotive minister,

“We need to ensure we take the public with us as we move towards having self-driving cars on our roads by 2021. The update to the Code of Practice will provide clearer guidance to those looking to carry out trials on public roads.”

It is no surprise that Britain has a leading position in development of autonomous vehicles as they could produce a £62bn economic boost by 2030. However, this depends on Brexit and if a ‘no deal’ decision is made.

maas schemes in the uk

Current UK examples ofMaaS include the app Whim in the West Midlands. Designed by Helsinki-based MaaS Global, Whim is an integrated transport system which allows its users to combine all their travel needs via their smartphone. It offers a range of monthly plans and National Express, Transport for West Midlands, Gett, Nextbike and Enterprise rent-a-car as transport providers.

Another successful MaaS scheme in the UK is MaaS Scotland. All across Scotland the company in rolling out initiatives that will engage transport operators, service provides and end-users. The end result is the integration of various forms of transport into one single, easy to use, mobility service.

Car Share Market in Ireland

car share ireland

Ireland has been a very slow adopter of car sharing services, with only three notable companies in operation. A study into the potential of organised car sharing and mobility in Ireland conducted by the Irish Transport Research Network in 2015, found that on average, GoCar customers made one trip every two months. The lack of car share success in the region is due to lack of options for potential users. The three companies currently in operation are:


GoCar, owned by Europcar, is the first Carsharing mobility service in Ireland. GoCar members can book cars online or via the app for as little as an hour, then unlock with their phone or GoCard; the keys are in the car, with fuel, insurance and city parking all included.

GoCar now has over 10,000 members and operates a fleet of over 300 cars, including 10 electric cars across over 200 locations in Ireland. It launched in Cork in September 2008, with the support of Cork City Council as a pilot scheme. Due to its success, Ireland’s National Spatial Strategy has noted CarSharing as one element of the strategy. However, GoCar is a two way car share model, meaning that once you finish using the vehicle you must bring it back to the designated location.


Ireland is the first country in which Toyota has launched a car share programme. YUKO currently has 30 hybrid vehicles in operation throughout Dublin. The company offers free on-street public parking space and the Toyota models available are the Yaris, Auris, Prius and by the end of the year the C-HR and Prius Plug in Hybrid.


Danish car-sharing company Green Mobility is to set up a scheme in Dublin this year with a fleet of 400 electric cars. Unlike its competitors, users don’t have to return cars to designated parking locations. It also offers only fully electric vehicles on its fleet. According to Anders Wall, the company’s chief international officer:

Within the operational zone – say within the city limits – the cars can be parked anywhere that is legal. You don’t have to return them to a station or designated location like you do with GoCar. Our service is literally door-to-door and not just A to B.

ride hailing in irish mobility market

lynk taxi ireland

Ride hailing in Ireland is very popular method of transportation, however the service works slightly differently than most other countries. For example, Uber is available in Ireland, however, Irish customers can only book a taxi or limousine through the Uber app rather than a private car.

Uber links passengers with private car owners through an app and has been described as a “disruptive technology” as it threatens the traditional model of taxi and limousine hire in Ireland. According to the Irish authority unlicensed ride sharing is illegal within the country.

Nevertheless, the revenue in the ride hailing sector amounts to US $220m in 2019 and is expected to grow by 5% by 2023. This is down to the current taxi-based ride hail scheme that is in operation within the region, particularly in the bigger cities.

Screenshot 2019 05 09 at 15.09.47

Two of the most commonly used ride hail apps in the country are:


Mytaxi, Ireland’s leading taxi e-hailing app, currently operates in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick. With two requests every second from Irish passengers, mytaxi directly connects passengers and drivers with just two taps of the app. Mytaxi was founded in June 2009 and has more than 10 million passengers and 100,000 drivers across Europe.


Irish-founded taxi booking app Lynk, whose primary customer base is in Dublin, is looking to expand nationwide, with plans to start operating in Cork and Galway. Lynk was founded by Noel Ebbs in early 2015. It has about 500,000 customers in Dublin and a fleet of 2,700 drivers. The company also operates across several UK cities and in the US, has “several million” customers.

irish Micro Mobility Offerings 

bike share ireland

Privately owned e-scooters are already prevalent on the streets of Ireland’s cities, especially Dublin. However, similar to the UK, under legislation that is more than 50 years old, they are illegal in Ireland. According to the Department of Transport, anyone caught using an e-scooter in a public place could be fined, given penalty points or have their “vehicle” seized. This is why there have been no developments with regards to micromobility on the island.

Nevertheless, research into the safety of electric scooters will be submitted to the transport minister “in a matter of weeks” with a decision on whether to permit them on Irish roads expected in the coming months.

The number of people cycling in Dublin is growing all the time. Yet, unusually, there aren’t many bikeshare schemes available to its citizens. However, the ones currently available in the city are very popular.


DublinBike is a public bicycle rental scheme which has operated in the city of Dublin since 2009. At its launch, the scheme, which is sponsored by JCDecaux, used 450 French-made unisex bicycles with 40 stations. By 2011 this had expanded to 550 bicycles and 44 stations, and in 2013 it was announced that a major expansion of the scheme would add a further 950 bikes and another 58 hire points.


BleeperBikes began in 2016 when CEO Hugh Cooney saw the evolution of stationless bike sharing while holidaying in China. With a few false starts, Bleeperbike became Ireland’s first dockless bike share scheme to hit the streets of the capital last year.


Unlike the network of Dublinbikes which require users to park at specific locations, Urbo’s service has no docking stations, similar to BleepBike. Urbo charges users £0.50 for every half hour of use in London, where several other operators – including Singapore firm oBike and China’s Mobike – have already rolled out.

Shared e-bikes still do not exist in the region. As recently as February this year, Dublin City Council rejected proposals by US taxi-hailing company Uber to roll out an electronic bike-sharing service in the city amid concerns over safety and the risk of vandalism.

autonomous vehicles in IReland

More than $50 billion (€42 billion) has been invested globally over the last five years in the development of self-driving technology, however Ireland is behind the curve on adopting this new technology. Despite falling behind in the race for an autonomous future, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Valeo in conjunction with CAV Ireland (Connected and Autonomous Vehicles) are building up a major hub in the west of Ireland for autonomous vehicle research and development.

maas schemes in ireland

The concept of MaaS is in its infancy in Ireland. The European FLIPPER project, which looked at nine EU geographically isolated regions – including South Tipperary – to study good practices in flexible and sustainable transport services. However, there has been little movement towards the implementation of MaaS and integrated technology within the region.

The UK and Ireland have show slow growth with regards to the shared mobility market because of a strict and often fragmented regulatory framework. Initiatives such as NorthSeaReg project are hoping to change that in the not-to-distant future.


Is there another region you’d like to see covered in our Shared Mobility by Region series? We will be sharing one article every month covering a new region, and would love to hear your feedback and input here.

Note: This article has not been endorsed or sponsored by any of the providers mentioned and there is no affiliation between movmi and them.

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