I’m all over the place – physically and mentally. My grey matter has been through the life mill. It’s The Stuff – renewal of driving licenses (that seem to require more forms than an application to be Prime Minister), the Ocado shop monster that never seems sated and things like crossing the road that I don’t trust myself with.
At this point I would love a reassuring squeeze on the upper arm and a packet of Hobnobs but alas, I am the one administering those things because I am a parent. I need to repeat that occasionally: I am a parent.
But when I’m a bit shambolic and someone edges over and says ‘I can help, I can make The Stuff easier’, I am all in. Cue DriveNow – a car hire service that knocks Uber out of the park and puts Hertz in the shade.
In it’s simplest form: You sign up (a process that takes 5 minutes; it’s almost relaxing, like a parental mini break), you locate your nearest car on the map (in the DriveNow app) and you literally drive away.
There is no key, no secret, it just works. I had five meetings in East London last Wednesday and I managed to bound seamlessly from one to the other without so much as seeing a Tube sign. No sweaty armpit in my face, no ‘signal failure’ (read: biscuit fell on the line) and no need for a key. I reiterate: no need for a key. (It blew my mind; you literally swipe in and out and press a ‘start’ button to fire her up).
Oh and talking cold, hard cash, it’s 29p a minute (until October), which means it’s around 20% cheaper than a comparable Uber ride. We’re talking a 15-minute trip around London costing £4.35 – that’s less than a Tube ticket with the guarantee of no armpit nuzzling. If you don’t believe me, more than 20,000 are already signed up so I’m not alone.
Channelling Penelope Pitstop – while obviously paying close attention to the DVLA green code – I hopped from meeting to meeting in a brand new Mini (there are also convertibles and fully electric BMW i3s) with radio blaring and packet of Haribo on the passenger seat. Parking was a dream because DriveNow has an agreement with select London Boroughs to allow parking without restriction: you can end your reservation in any residents’ parking or pay & display space in the area.
The brand’s strapline: ‘Find it. Drive it. Drop it.’ There really is nothing else to add. This is one of those services for when you really are all over the place. Which, for me, is every day.
DriveNow is available in Islington, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Haringey with big expansion plans in the pipeline. DriveNow also has half a million users globally, and is currently available in ten European cities; London, Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Vienna and most recently, Brussels. You can now pick up a DriveNow car drive it to London City Airport, fly to Berlin and then just hop in a DriveNow in Berlin and explore the city that way. No need to faff around with expensive car rental or public transport. Sign up for free here