The Scotsman

Coun­cils told to pre­pare for in­crease in car­shar­ing as work­ers give up their ve­hi­cles

- Chris Green Cars · Transportation · Infectious Diseases · Industries · Health Conditions · Nicola Sturgeon · Scottish Government

Coun­cils across Scot­land have been told to pre­pare for an in­crease in car-shar­ing as more peo­ple work from home in the wake of the coron­avirus pan­demic.

A de­cline in full time of­fice work­ing as a re­sult of the changes in life­style brought by Covid-19 is pre­dicted to re­sult in some peo­ple no longer need­ing a car for daily use.

This in turn could in­crease the pop­u­lar­ity of car-shar­ing clubs, where users pay a small mem­ber­ship fee to ac­cess a shared car parked on a nearby street.

In a brief­ing dis­trib­uted to all 32 lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, trans­port char­ity COMOUK said they should be pre­pared for “sig­nif­i­cant changes in com­mut­ing pat­terns” after the pan­demic had passed.

It said car clubs were likely

to be­come a “more prac­ti­cal, cost-ef­fi­cient and at­trac­tive op­tion” for peo­ple no longer trav­el­ling to and from the of­fice ev­ery day.

Be­fore the coron­avirus lock­down, 68 per cent of Scot­land’s com­muters drove to work by car or van and 66 per cent of all car jour­neys were sin­gle oc­cu­pancy trips.

But most lo­cal coun­cils have also de­clared a cli­mate emer­gency and are ur­gently seek­ing ways to cut car­bon emis­sions, such as by en­cour­ag­ing the use of pub­lic trans­port.

A rise in the use of car-shar­ing clubs would lead to more de­mand for shared on-street park­ing spa­ces, while bike­shar­ing schemes could also be­come more pop­u­lar.

In her Pro­gramme for Gov­ern­ment last week, Ni­cola Stur­geon an­nounced the cre­ation of a new Cen­tre for Work­place Trans­for­ma­tion to re­spond to changes in work­ing be­hav­iour.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion will ex­am­ine “how and where work takes place” and help busi­nesses be­come more flex­i­ble in al­low­ing home work­ing in the fu­ture.

COMOUK is partly funded by Trans­port Scot­land, the agency re­spon­si­ble for de­liv­er­ing the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s green trans­port ini­tia­tives. Lorna Fin­layson, the char­ity’s Scot­land di­rec­tor, said: “We know that one of the changes in a post-covid econ­omy will be more peo­ple work­ing at home.

“That will re­duce the num­ber of com­muter jour­neys made in a car, as many peo­ple just won’t see the ben­e­fit of run­ning their own ve­hi­cle any longer.

“This will open the door for car club schemes, and coun­cils need to be ready with a strat­egy to take ad­van­tage of th­ese shifts in be­hav­iour.

“It ben­e­fits ev­ery­one, as car clubs are more likely to use en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ve­hi­cles, and it will re­duce the amount of traf­fic on the streets while sav­ing peo­ple money. If lo­cal au­thor­i­ties start pre­par­ing for a green fu­ture now, it could help save com­muters money and move Scot­land closer to hit­ting its cli­mate change tar­gets.”

Trans­port Scot­land said it had al­ready awarded £869,000 to reg­is­tered so­cial land­lords to pro­cure the ser­vices of elec­tric car clubs and shared car hire schemes.

“This is al­ready pro­vid­ing af­ford­able ac­cess to e-mo­bil­ity and real al­ter­na­tives to car own­er­ship in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties,” a spokesman added.

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