A PAY-as-you-go car scheme to help Worcester residents reduce congestion and save money is now up and running.

Worcestershire County Council, the city council and a company called Wizzgo have joined together to get the five small-engined vehicles on the road so people can pick them up and drop them off as they please.

The Worcester News revealed at the beginning of October the plans for the cars, and they have now been launched in five locations in the city.

Whizzgo cars are available to anyone who holds a valid UK driving licence. People interested can sign up online or by phone after paying a joining fee of £25 and £125 for a one-off insurance deposit.

Cars are booked through the internet or by phone and notice to hire a car can be given weeks in advance or a minute before a vehicle is needed.

Each car is provided with a fuel card, which can be presented as payment once the car has been filled up.

Coun Derek Prodger, Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "We are blazing a trail as the smallest city to have introduced a commercial car club and it is hoped that we will give the confidence to other smaller cities and towns to follow in our example and help make a real impact on congestion levels across the UK."

There are initially five cars around Worcester with a view to increase the number of cars as the project becomes more established, offering residents more choice how they travel.

The Whizzgo car locations are in the car parks of the Cattle Market, Pitchcroft, Swanpool Walk, Tallow Hill and St Martins Gate.

Coun Simon Geraghty, leader of Worcester City Council, said: "This is an excellent example of the city and county council working together with a private company to offer a solution to those residents that sometimes need to use a car but don't want the hassle of owning and maintaining their own vehicle. I hope it will prove particularly useful for city centre residents who only need to use a car infrequently as well as businesses who occasionally need staff to use a vehicle for work."

Doug Aston, West Midlands area manager for Whizzgo, said: "Our cars cost from as little as £4.95 an hour which includes fuel, insurance, cleaning, servicing, maintenance, repair and breakdown costs. This is great value when compared to the cost of running and maintaining a second car which is only used for short journeys a couple of times a week."

For more details or to join the scheme call Whizzgo on 08704 466000 or visit www.whizzgo.co.uk