Friends with benefits ... why Scotland has become a nation of car-sharers
MORE Scots commuters than ever are sharing their journey to work with colleagues to cut costs and car emissions accord- ing to new figures.
There has been an 80 per cent increase in “lift-sharing” in just five years with some experts putting the surge down to shows like James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke and Peter Kay’s Car Share. The new figures have been released ahead of National Liftshare Week.
Corden’s show sees celebrities join him for a sing-a-long in a car while he drives in one of America’s high-occupancy vehicle lanes, while Kay wrote and starred in his Bafta award-winning sitcom which saw him play a supermarket worker who finds love while driving a colleague to work.
National Liftshare Week begins tomorrow and figures released by the UK’s biggest car-sharing community, liftshare.com, show a growing number of Scots are commuting together by car.
In 2002, when the concept was launched, there were only 61 participants. That figure rose to 13,526 by 2012 and this year the number of people signed up stands at 24,351, an 80 per cent increase in five years.
The scheme’s reach is Scotland-wide and six of the seven Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) are now clients of liftshare.com.
Lisa Freeman, strategy and projects officer with South East of Scotland Transport Partnership, which runs its own car-sharing scheme, said celebrity endorsements have contributed to the growth.
She said: “Car-sharing has seen a great rise in popularity thanks to recent celebrity endorsements by James Corden and Peter Kay. Corden, joined by a host of different celebrities, has made car-sharing cool with his Carpool Karaoke, while Kay injects humour into car-sharing journeys in his BBC sitcom Peter Kay’s Car Share.
“Car-sharing is a great way to reduce costs of driving, it can also reduce the need for car ownership – you don’t even need to own your own car to car share. Many members are happy to car share in return for a small contribution towards costs and some friendly company for their journey.
“Membership in Edinburgh and around the southeast has now risen to over 8,000 people.”
The Scottish Greens’ transport spokesman, John Finnie MSP, also backs car sharing. He said: “Considering the transport figures published by the Government this week show a continued rise in car use, it’s pleasing that car-sharing is becoming more popular.
“It’s definitely one way to offset one of the most polluting forms of transport.”
Commuters who car-share every day can save an estimated £1,000 a year, according to liftshare.com head of marketing Caroline Mayer. She said: “We’re seeing a growing interest in lift sharing as an alternative way to travel, particularly for commuters.”
Mayer added: “Six of the seven Scottish Regional Transport Partnerships offer lift-share schemes so that commuters all over Scotland can share their car journeys.
“Liftshare Week is all about encouraging people to give sharing a try and discover all the benefits for themselves.”
The partnership is promoting its car-sharing scheme at TripshareSestran.com during the week.
Freeman added: “We will be engaging with commuters promoting Tripshare and getting them to sign up via our street teams, having some fun and creating a social media buzz.”
The TV shows Carpool Karaoke with James Corden, inset, and Peter Kay’s Car Share have contributed to the rise in lift sharing