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7 million drivers plan to cut down car use for short journeys


Jun 30, 2023

Kwik Fit gears up for active travel with cycle service and repair partnership with Fettle
Partnership’s first cycle workshop – Fettle at Kwik Fit – opens in Bristol

New research today reveals that of the 20 million drivers who regularly use their car for journeys of between one to two miles, some 6.9 million (34%) want to switch to other travel methods.1 When asked about their travel over journeys of less than 1.5 miles, almost one in seven car owners (13%) said they want to cycle on more of these trips, while 6% want to make more use of an electric bike.

The study has been carried out for Kwik Fit, which has launched a new partnership designed to support those customers switching to active travel modes for short journeys.  The UK’s leading automotive servicing and repair company, with over 600 centres across the UK, has launched a strategic partnership with Fettle to offer cycle servicing.

Over the past three years, Fettle has built a fast-growing bike repair network, providing ‘faff-free’ repairs and servicing across London.  Its innovative, tech-led approach is designed to serve the growing demand from urban cyclists, bicycle manufacturers and cargo bike fleets.

Under the new collaboration, the first Fettle at Kwik Fit operation has opened in the Kwik Fit centre in Cheltenham Road, Bristol, with centres in London to follow in the coming weeks and a plan to roll out the partnership to centres across the UK.

The 6.9 million drivers who want to cut down on car use for short journeys (1-2 miles) will add to some 5.2 million drivers who have already done so over the last two years, accelerating the move towards active travel modes.

While the cost of fuel has been the biggest factor in making the shift, cited by two in five (39%), 30% of drivers switching from a car for short trips say they are doing so to improve their fitness, 26% say the environmental impact of a short car journey is the stimulus, while 17% say it’s because other travel modes are just as fast as taking the car.

Some 44% of car owners also own a bike, or have access to one.  When they were asked what factors put them off using a bike more often for short journeys, the most common deterrents were the weather (32%), safety fears (26%) and the ability to carry loads (25%). In addition to these factors, 8% say they worry about not being able to fix their bike should it go wrong when they are out. The same proportion (8%) say they are concerned about the condition of their bike, while 7% say they don’t use their bike more often because they don’t think it is roadworthy.

Fettle at Kwik Fit aims to remove these latter barriers by providing bike owners with a variety of clear and transparent servicing and repair options, including a Bicycle MOT. These will give people reassurance that their bike is in good condition and can be relied on as an alternative for short trips.

In addition to supporting pedal cycle owners, Fettle at Kwik Fit will serve the growing number of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes. E-bike sales have risen from 3% of all bikes sold in 2018 to 8% in 2022, and now represent 30% of overall bike sales value, while sales of cargo bikes at some leading retailers rose by 40% last year compared to 2021.2

Fettle is in talks with a number of manufacturers and fleets to support their nationwide expansion and growing investment in the UK’s micro mobility market, as companies increasingly look to replace cars and vans with e-bikes and cargo bikes for last mile deliveries.

Mark Slade, managing director of Kwik Fit, says: “This research shows that there are many reasons why drivers are looking for different modes of travel for short journeys, and we can support them through removing some of the barriers when it comes to increased cycle use.  In addition, a growing number of our customers who operate vehicle fleets have been asking if we can support their expanding cargo bike operations, which are increasingly being used for short urban journeys.

“The fragmented nature of the industry’s current network of largely independent bike shops makes it hard for manufacturers and fleet operators to secure reliable and consistent high quality servicing across their operations. By partnering with Fettle, we can offer its services and the expertise of its dedicated teams at Kwik Fit locations to address this need.”

The companies are also exploring the potential for offering the Fettle collection and delivery service from Kwik Fit centres beyond those initial locations with on-site bike servicing, thus rapidly expanding the availability of the Fettle service. In the immediate term, Fettle operations will remain separate from Kwik Fit with Fettle providing all staff, products and services for bicycle customers.

Jeyda Heselton, CEO and Founder of Fettle, said: “Over the past three years we have experimented and invested in skills, processes, systems and locations. This has enabled us to understand how to best meet the growing demand for bike servicing and maintenance by consumers, manufacturers and fleets to help see green travel succeed in the UK. Combining our knowhow with Kwik Fit’s network and experience in the automotive sector was therefore a natural next step to accelerate our ability to service customers at scale.”

Fettle at Kwik Fit will provide a full roster of its services including free bike assessments and quotes, as well as the company’s proprietary Bicycle MOT. Those looking for more information on manufacturer and fleet services can find details at the fettle website or email hello@fettle.cc.

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