"Towards a Zero Carbon Community"
Journey Sharing: What happened?
Posted Thursday, August 20, 2009
This is an update following the attempted launch of Youlgrave Journey Share in October 2008.
Three people offered lifts. Nobody took them up.
One person asked for a lift. Nobody offered it.
Not a great result, is it?
Why didn’t it work?
Is it because there’s no need for car sharing? It is certainly true that the valley is quite well off for alternative means of transport. But the fact remains that the biggest transport divide is between those who have access to a car and those who don’t.
There are plenty of people in the village who have never had a car. They might not feel it as a great lack, but they still might appreciate a lift from time to time. Others without a car may feel limited in their job opportunities or their leisure opportunities. The fact that they may have got used to that is no good reason for not seeking to change it.
Of course, some people with their own transport just want to keep it that way. But even those who like the idea of sharing in principle can find lots of reasons why they don’t actually do it. For example:
1. Drivers making regular journeys (for example, to work) don’t always leave at the same time, aren’t at their best first thing in the morning, can’t find the time to deal with a car-sharing arrangement, worry about the effect it would have on their own travel time, are nervous about who they might end up taking, want to think about the day ahead and not have to chat, want to listen to the radio, don’t want to be tied-down to a particular return time, don’t want to change the habits of a lifetime, etc.
2. Drivers making occasional journeys (for example, to go shopping, see friends or relatives, have an evening out, take the car for servicing, go on holiday or on a one-off business trip) aren’t sure what time they will be ready to leave, can’t find the time to deal with a car-sharing arrangement, worry about the effect it will have on their travel time, are nervous about who they might end up taking, don’t want to have to talk to a stranger, want to be able to stop on the way, don’t want to be tied to a particular return time, don’t want to change the habits of a lifetime, etc.
And prospective passengers find it equally difficult to ‘take the plunge’. They are nervous about asking for a lift from a driver whose identity they don’t initially know, don’t like to be thought in need of charity, are worried that they might be asked to pay 40p a mile, are nervous about new social contacts, etc.
The older we get, the less inclined we feel to change the habits of a lifetime. The old might not need to. But the rest of us are going to have to, sooner or later. Greenpeace reckons that we have only 20 years before global warming is irreversible.
Immediately after the Titanic hit the iceberg, everything looked OK. But it wasn’t.
Journey Share: A Second Attempt
Judith is going to start the scheme again, with John Sutcliffe again in support. It will be the same as last time, with notices of journeys offered and requested on the main notice-boards in Church Street, Coldwell End, Alport and Middleton.
The only difference we propose to make at this stage is that people offering lifts will be asked whether they want a financial contribution from a passenger and, if so, how much per mile. We will publish that. Then there will be no surprises for people looking for a lift. Don’t forget that the people offering and requesting lifts won’t have their names published on notice-board. Please ring Judith in the first instance on 630202. Failing her, John on 636570.
Other Forms of Car Sharing
Carol and John Sutcliffe have managed to change their motoring habits to the extent of reducing the annual mileage of their second car. We think we have got to the point when we are ready to reduce our car ownership down from two cars to one and a bit. Or maybe one car and a bit of a van. Or one car and a bit of a people carrier. Or one car and a bit of a very small car. We don’t really know which. Put another way, we think we can be flexible. Ideally, we would like to be able to do all the things we can do at present – but producing less CO² and, we hope, more economically.
So we are putting feelers out to friends who we think may be ready to share the ownership or running of a car or van – either one they’ve already got or one that we can jointly buy for the purpose of sharing.
Judith has halved her mileage from last year, uses the bus more, and wants to share her car or get rid of it and share someone else’s. Hubby has swapped his car for one which does double the mpg.
John and Jean Youatt are also ready to review the future of Beryl, Jean’s elderly car, possibly along similar lines. John is monitoring the electric car market. It’s only a matter of time, allegedly.
If there’s anyone else in the village who hasn’t already made themselves known to Judith or one of the two Johns as a potential car sharer, please do so. We might end up with a village car, people carrier or van – if we can only make up our mind and get on with it.
Judith Orchard & John Sutcliffe
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