03 June 2008
TV environment presenter Iolo Williams will this week (Thursday 5th June) meet Wales's "smartest" car sharers.
Caerphilly Council workers Sue Toogood and Jane Haile not only share their journeys to work with colleagues but they also share the same parking space at the same time!
Both are two-seater Smart Car drivers and their two cars fit snugly into just one space at Caerphilly Council's new offices in Tredomen Park, Ystrad Mynach.
Caerphilly Council has Wales newest car-sharing scheme, designed to provide council employees with opportunities to share journeys to work and reduce daily travel costs. Staff can even use the system to search for colleagues to walk or cycle with and forms part of the authority's wider commitment to promoting sustainable travel.
The Caerphilly scheme is only open to council staff but it is part of a wider South East Walescar-share initiative that aims to cut travel costs, congestion and pollution across the region. Sewta (South East Wales Transport Alliance) has a free car-share system that allows anyone from anywhere to sign up to share journeys and costs.
The online service www.sewtacarshare.com links drivers with passengers to share journeys together. It allows people to car share to work, shopping, to the big game or concert - in fact to anywhere in Europe at any time.
It takes just two minutes to register but the potential savings can be huge. The system instantly calculates how much money and CO2 sharing a registered journey can save. Trips can be a regular arrangement or just a one-off.
Sewtacarshare.com is part of the specialist car sharing organisation Liftshare which has set up hundreds of schemes for communities across the UK.
The benefits of car sharing are considerable, and include:
- Reduced travel costs - drivers and passengers can split the costs of travel.
- Improved access - to areas which aren't accessible through public transport.
- Meet new people - sharing a car is a great way to meet colleagues, friends and neighbours.
- Reduced congestion - by sharing cars you can do your bit to help reduce congestion in the area.
- Reduced pollution - cutting congestion will also help to reduce pollution.
- Reduced Carbon Dioxide emissions - which in turn will help to reduce the development of global warming.
Sewta Travel Plan Co-ordinator Nicola Davies said, "Figures for May show that membership of our car share scheme is up more than 50% on the previous month and at an all time high since the scheme was launched in 2002.
In addition to Caerphilly Council, other major employers such as Gwent NHS Trust and the Patent Office have also taken out group schemes on sewtacarshare.com in the past month.
The rising price of fuel is obviously having a major impact on how people are travelling to work and schemes like this are helping thousands of people across the region share the cost of motoring while cutting congestion and pollution too. We estimate the average car sharer can save more than £1,000 per year and a tonne of CO2.
Deputy Leader of Caerphilly Council, Cllr Allan Pritchard welcomed the launch of the scheme. "The council is keen to promote a sustainability agenda and we are encouraging all our employees to think about how they can do their bit to help the environment through positive action. This car share scheme is an excellent example of this and is also an ideal way for members of staff to cut costs and reduce fuel bills. We would encourage as many people to sign up and enjoy the benefits of this innovative scheme."
Liftshare.com (http://www.liftshare.org/uk/comstart.asp) has extensive experience of setting up car-sharing schemes and has established more than 300 schemes across the UK for a range of clients.
The scheme has been designed to be as safe and secure as possible, and no personal information is revealed on-line. In addition, women can choose to travel only with other women, and men with other men.
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