Understanding car-sharing schemes and why they work

Understanding car-sharing schemes and why they work

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So what is it exactly? Car-sharing, or carpooling, is were two or more people travel together for all or part of a journey, instead of travelling in their own vehicle. People give or accept lifts from others with the aim of reducing the number of people driving and cars on the road.

What types of car-sharing are there?

There are car-sharing schemes to suit every kind of traveller:

Work or school – for the commute or the kids’ school run

Formal or informal – for business trips or travelling with friends

Local or national – for short or long-distance travel

Driver, passenger or both – for those who prefer only to drive, just be the passenger, or would like to do a bit of both

What are the benefits of car-sharing?

  • It saves money – car-sharing can cut fuel and running costs, as passengers help pay for petrol, while reducing mileage and general vehicle wear and tear.

  • It helps the environment – sharing a car means fewer vehicles on the road, which can ease congestion and reduce air pollution.

  • Preferential treatment – car-sharers have priority on some roads, with certain UK cities now operating car-sharing lanes.

  • It’s a sociable way to travel – car-sharing offers a fun way to meet new people, get to know your work colleagues better, and make new friends

Joining a car-sharing community – What you need to know

There are different online car-sharing community sites, such as National CarShare (NCS). These allow you to connect with people to car-share with.

Joining these sites is similar to signing up to a social network. Members can view profiles and rate their experience with drivers and vet those who do not abide by a network’s code of conduct.

Trust and authenticity

Sharing a car with someone you don’t know is a big issue for some people. However, trust is at the centre of all car-sharing communities. Profiles, including photos and contact details, are verified. You can filter your search to travel with someone of your gender. Some sites also request members publicity rate each other on their site once they meet.

Car safety and condition

Car-sharing sites encourage you to check the details of the car you travel in as a passenger – the registration plate, MOT and tax status – to make sure it’s in good condition. You should only agree to a lift if you’re happy.

Insurance is not affected

Car-sharing schemes don’t affect your car insurance. As long as drivers don’t make a profit from their journey – passengers should only contribute to fuel costs – the Association of British Insurers states normal car insurance polices won’t be affected.

How to set up a carpooling or car-sharing scheme

If you’re interested in car-sharing but would prefer to set up a scheme yourself, the main thing to think about is matching up potential car-sharers. Remember, car-sharing schemes can be informal, with family or friends, or formal, with work colleagues.

You could set up a database to collect people’s names, or just put up a notice board at work. Perhaps arrange a coffee morning somewhere or an office meeting, introduce people who make similar journeys, and go from there.

Car-sharing is a good way to stretch your motoring budget further. If you’re a driver and looking for other ways to save money on your car expense, read our tips in the blog post Driving Hacks That Help You Use Less Petrol.

This article has been written by Nigel Norman, Marketing Administrator for Auto Advance, a UK Logbook Loans provider.

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