If you live in the Netherlands and are looking for an affordable way to drive, you could consider a car sharing scheme called Greenwheels.
This 'pay-as-you-go' plan works out cheaper than owning your own vehicle if you are a light user and drive only 2 or 3 days a month. Greenwheels charges a monthly fee and rentals are charged by the hour and per km.
There are around 1,500 Greenwheels cars (Peugeots 107/207 Station plus Partner vans) at permanent parking spots in 90 Dutch towns and cities. If you walk around Amsterdam you will notice Greenwheels cars parked at various places all over the city. Greenwheels has also introduced 25 electric Peugeot iOn cars at 25 locations in the main cities.
To Join: You can join online at the Greenwheels website - note, it is Dutch language only. You can upload a copy of your passport and driving license and fill in your Dutch bank details as Greenwheels requires an initial (refundable) bond payment of €225. Within about 3 days you should receive your personal Greenwheels chip card.
As a Greenwheels member you can reserve any car in the country online as long as its available for the hours you want it. You pick up a car as follows - your card has an RFID chip which when held against a sensor on the windscreen unlocks the door. You then have to enter your special pincode in a console on the dash. Before driving off you should briefly inspect the car for any damage and compare with the written log inside. Then off you go...
After you're done driving you return the car to the same parking spot by the specified time, sign out and lock-up.
The scheme is quite flexible - reservations can be cancelled up to 1 hour beforehand. It's possible to extend the rental period whilst you have the car by phoning the Greenwheels call centre - subject to availability, of course. If you wish to rent during the popular weekend period then do book in advance.
Cost: You pay a flat subscription fee every month (various options between €5 and €25 per month). On top of that you will pay an hourly rental charge (€2.50-€8) and a small fee (€0.10-€0.20) per kilometre driven. If you need to fill the tank, petrol is paid for by Greenwheels using a special bank PIN card.
Greenwheels has a partnership agreement with the NS railways to have vehicles parked at 80 train stations. Those holding a Dutch rail discount cards get a small discount off the Greenwheels subscription.
Greenwheels is a reasonable scheme for those who need occasional use of a car when public transport can't do the job. And you won't have to worry about running costs, insurance and residential parking fees.
Note, the major car rental firms will be cheaper for longer rental periods and (unlike car share schemes) will allow you to drop the car off in a different place.
Wheels Nederland, Postbus 4031, 3006 AA Rotterdam
T: +31(0)88 210 0100
Other Car Sharing options in Amsterdam:
There is an alternative company called Connect Car which is cheaper but has a smaller network, although a decent presence (over 300 cars) in Amsterdam. Cars range from 2 seat Smart cars to large Opels. Hourly prices are €2-€4.50 per hour; distance tariffs from €0.08 per kilometre.
Connect Car does not charge a monthly fee or bond - so could be a good choice for infrequent drivers.
Connect Car, Klokkenbergweg 17, 1101 AK Amsterdam
T: +31(0)88 311 9898
Another option is the Car2Go scheme, which has 300 electric Smart cars (2 seater automatics) parked around Amsterdam. Car2Go is a subsidiary of Daimler AG and runs similar schemes in other cities worldwide.
The operating area for Amsterdam is mainly within the A10 ring road and the cars have a maximum range of 135km. On top of zero emissions, one of the benefits of electric vehicles is that parking in the city (for the time being) is free. Rental costs for Car2Go are charged at €0.29 per minute (driving) and €0.19 per minute (while parked) and the car does not need to be returned to a fixed point. There are currently over 200 charging stations around Amsterdam - a total of 1,200 are planned.
Car2Go shop, Oude Spiegelstraat 6a, 1016 BM Amsterdam
More Info on Driving in Amsterdam: