Sunday, 15 October 2017

DriveNow, the Oxford Half Marathon and a special signup offer!

Whilst people argue about the merits of black cabs vs Uber, I have started to travel around (North) London using a different service.  No worrying about whether the taxi will be on time or worrying about who the driver is, I drive myself using DriveNow ("the flexible car club" where you rent cars by the minute through an app on your phone.)

drivenow 3-door mini
Our DriveNow 3-door Mini
I have been an unofficial advocate of DriveNow for a while and last weekend I became a DriveNow influencer for the day!  DriveNow have launched extended packages that mean that you can take a car outside of London for longer journeys and DriveNow loaned us a car so that we could get to the Oxford Half Marathon.  (Basically, we got a car to use for the day in return for telling everyone about it - something I am happy to do as it is a service that I use and enjoy.)

So how does it work?  Well, DriveNow is powered by BMW and runs in partnership with Sixt in a number of European cities including London, Milan, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen and more.  DriveNow customers simply download the DriveNow app to their phone and an in-app map view shows the cars that are nearby.  You can tap on a car on the map and then see the car type and how much fuel / power it has.  You can then reserve it for 15 minutes while you walk to it and the app allows you to flash the lights, enter SatNav details and Lock / Unlock.  You simply either pay by the minute or book a longer hourly package in advance.

For our journey to Oxford I managed to find a 3-door Mini near my house called 'Axel' (all the cars have names) and it had a good amount of petrol too.  I reserved it on the DriveNow app, walked to it and then opened it up using the 'Unlock' function on the app.  (DriveNow cars have no keys, just a Start / Stop button and a multi-media display on the dashboard that requires your pin code.)  So I started up our DriveNow Mini, put it into 'Drive' on the automatic gearstick and set off for Oxford.  We then parked up in the Oxford Park and Ride, got the bus to town, dropped our bags in the bag drop and lined up for the half marathon...

Oxford Half Marathon 2017 start
Start of the Virgin Sport Oxford Half Marathon 2017
Within the DriveNow 'Business Area' in London (Hackney, Haringey and Islington) DriveNow cars can be parked in almost any parking space (including residents permit parking.)   This means that there are DriveNow cars scattered throughout the DriveNow zones and it is fairly easy to find a DriveNow car - either a Mini 3 door, Mini 5 door, Mini convertible, BMW 1 Series or a BMW i3 Electric car.  For a short journey in London I tend to collect a car and end my rental when I park.  I then just pick up another DriveNow car through the app when I want to return home, though there is a 'Park and Keep' function that allows you to keep / hold the original car while you shop / eat / go about whatever it is that you are doing!

New longer journey packages allow DriveNow users to take vehicles out of the business area for extended periods - like our journey to and from Oxford. (Standard rentals are charged by the minute vs these longer packages that have fixed costs.)  This made it very easy for us and once we had finished the half marathon we collected our bags, returned to the DriveNow car we had been using earlier in the day, unlocked it and drove home (finally parking up in the business area and ending our rental.)

DriveNow mini
Our DriveNow mini with our Oxford Half Marathon medals
I love the simplicity of DriveNow and I really enjoyed our day out in Oxford.  I got a good finishing time in the Oxford Half Marathon too and I'm crediting part of this to DriveNow as our journey was much easier than it would have been otherwise!!!

Finally, DriveNow have offered readers of this post a special DriveNow sign up deal - £0 joining fee and £10 driving credit.

Thank you #drivenow!

[Disclaimer: DriveNow gave me the use of a mini in order to get to and from the Oxford Half Marathon and agreed to offer readers of this post a special membership signup promotion.  In return I offered to write a post about our DriveNow journey to and from the Oxford Half Marathon.  I was also a happy prior customer of DriveNow.]  

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