If you live in the Netherlands and are looking for an affordable way to drive, you could consider a car sharing scheme called Greenwheels, a subsidiary of NS Dutch railways.
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 1,700 Greenwheels cars at permanent parking spots in 100 Dutch towns and cities. If you walk around Amsterdam you will notice Greenwheels cars parked at various places all over the city.
Greenwheels has a range of cars for use: small city cars (Volkswagen Up! and Peugeot 107), a mid-range station wagon (Peugeot 207) and small van (Volkswagen Partner).
How To Join: As long as you are aged 24 or over, you can join Greenwheels. This can be done online at the Greenwheels.com website where you can upload a copy of your passport and driving license and also fill in your Dutch bank details. 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 it's 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 of either €5, €15 or €25 per month. On top of that you will pay an hourly rental charge (€3.10-€6.10 per hour during the day and €1 per hour at night 0000-0800) plus a distance charge (€0.12-€0.21) per kilometre driven. If you need to fill the tank (which should be done if less than a quarter full) then fuel is paid for by Greenwheels using a special bank PIN card.
Those holding one of the Dutch rail discount cards get a one-time €25 driving credit.
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.
Green Wheels Netherlands,
Postbus 4031, 3006 AA Rotterdam
T: +31(0)88 210 0100
Other Car Sharing options in Amsterdam:
Connect Car (a KAV Auto rental subsidiary) is cheaper than Greenwheels but has a smaller network although a decent presence (over 300 cars) in Amsterdam. Cars range from 2 seat Smart cars to large Opels and Mercedes vans. Hourly prices for cars are €1.70-€4.60 per hour; distance tariffs are €0.09-€0.20 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
Car2Go is a subsidiary of Daimler AG and has 300 electric Smart cars (2 seater automatics) parked around Amsterdam. Car2Go 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 locally, 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 €0.31 per minute and the car does not need to be returned to a fixed point.
There are some small discounts if you connect the car to a charging point - of which there are currently around 600 council charging stations around Amsterdam - a total of 2,000 are planned.
Note, Car2Go requires you to show ID, a driving license, a bank card and proof of income to open an account.
Car2Go shop, Oude Spiegelstraat 6a, 1016 BM Amsterdam
More Info on Driving in Amsterdam: