Car journeys contribute a significant amount of our overall carbon footprint. According to the Energy Saving Trust nearly half of us use a car to drive short journeys, journeys that could otherwise be completed in another, more sustainable way. The daily school run, taking our children to and from school, or your daily commute to work, can both often fall under this category. A car sharing scheme is one way of making these necessary trips greener. A car sharing scheme is easy to join, or to start if there’s no car sharing club in your local area – all you need are other likeminded people wanting to do their bit.
Sharing the School Run
The school run accounts for around 15% of all peak-hour car journeys. The school run traffic can create bottlenecked, congested traffic that is unpleasant for everyone to drive in. But increases in the cost of public transport and widespread car ownership have meant that the number of people driving children to work has gone up. Here’s how you can get involved in a car sharing scheme.
- How it Works
You sign up to become designated driver of a group of fellow pupils on a specific day of the week or week at a time. At these times, it’s your responsibility to pick up and drop off your car sharing group on time. At other times, your child will be picked up and dropped off by another car sharing member.
Contact your school to see if they have a dedicated car sharing scheme available for parents and pupils and which driving areas they cover. Alternatively, if there’s no car sharing scheme set up, talk to a few parents to drum up interest, and then bring your idea to the school. Having a school endorsed scheme means your child can travel to school with school and classmates, but there are also council-led services that cover a larger geographical area.
Sharing the Commute to Work
Peak hour driving in traffic jams can be stressful – time consuming, costly and bad for your health before you even arrive for a day’s work. If you’re in London, you’ll also have to pay a daily congestion charge. You’ll find that many work colleagues are in the same position as you. See how you can make your car journey more pleasant and better for the environment.
- How it Works
In the same way as with a school run scheme, members sign up and commit to driving to and from work on a particular day. Then other members do the driving on alternative dates. Often groups create a central pool of funds for use as petrol money.
Many companies are eager to find ways to make their employees travel to and from work more energy efficiently, so make your ideas known to the right people in your office if no car sharing schemes exist in your workplace. You may even be able to gain benefits from your company for doing so.
There are a number of websites on the market that allow you to join a local car club scheme, such as citycarclub.co.uk or liftshare.org. This is a slightly different scheme as it offers people who only use their cars for driving to work a way to get rid of them for good. Car clubs offer short term car hire for a more affordable, pay-as-you-drive price at short notice. This also tends to mean that club members use alternatives such as walking or public transport rather than a car for short journeys. Some clubs are currently restricted to operation in London or UK cities only – but watch this space as the trend takes off elsewhere.
Not only will you help save the environment, there are also financial benefits that accompany joining a car sharing scheme. Firstly, you’ll be clocking up less mileage on your car, and will therefore be reducing the risk of car trouble that’s associated with over-use of your car. As such, your car insurance premiums may fall. And of course you’ll have more money in your pocket through having to use less petrol to travel from A to B.