Transport Self-help kit: Providing transport services to your community

How to set up or promote a liftshare scheme

Introduction

Liftshare schemes, also known as car sharing or ride sharing, help individuals identify other travellers who they may be able to share a car journey with, based on their journey times and points between which they travel.  The concept of lift sharing is based on increasing the number of passengers in a vehicle which is already travelling to a specific place.  Liftshare can be used for regular or one-off journeys.

When sharing a journey, most drivers divide the cost of their journey (petrol, parking etc) by the number of people in the car – but it is illegal to make a profit. A driver may charge less, accept a small donation or provide free travel. For regular journeys, where all passengers own their own vehicles, people may decide it is simpler to take it in turn to drive so no money changes hands.

Case Study – Hantscarshare (a users perspective)

Eli Bruetschy and Andrew Coombes work in different parts of Hampshire County Council and have been car sharing to Winchester since February 2007.

How did Hanstcarshare.com help you to set up your liftshare arrangement? The site made it easy for us to find potential car share partners. Contact is confidential, and there is plenty of advice.

How does sharing your car journey to the office work for you? We share our journey two to four times a week, one person driving one week, one person the other. We are flexible about this, sometimes we arrange to go early, or leave late.  It just depends on what's happening.

Are there any other advantages of sharing? Liftsharing is a way of sharing the strain of driving after a day in the office, and allowing the passenger to just relax! It is also a sociable way of contributing to a greener environment. It helps reduce congestion, pollution, and the need for parking spaces, hence car sharing is a way of helping everybody.

What would you say to anyone thinking of sharing a journey? Any advice?  Give it a go! You have nothing to lose, lots to gain. Don't feel obliged. You don't have to share every day, every week. Do keep in touch, it's easy to fall out of the habit. Be honest with your car share partner(s). If it is not working for you, say so.

When might a liftshare scheme be suitable?

It is particularly well suited for journeys to a place of work, which tend to be made to the same destination and at roughly the same time each week. Although liftshare can be used for any type of journey, including weekly shopping and  school runs. For those both with and without their own vehicles; it provides transport for those without their own vehicle and can reduce or share their fuel costs for those with their own transport. However, be aware that if a driver is unwell or on holiday, their liftshare passengers will need to find alternative transport.

Promoting or setting up a liftshare scheme

Hampshire has its own liftshare scheme, Hantscarshare, which anyone can join for free, and Parish Councils or local organisations can promote within the local community. The more individuals who join and submit journeys, the greater the likelihood of liftshare matches being made.  This is a web based scheme and does require internet access and an email account.

Alternatively, you may want to set up your own liftshare scheme, specifically for your area. A local liftshare scheme may work very well if it were centred around only one or two destinations for example, for evening trips to an entertainment venue or trips into town on market day. Starting small and staying focused will help participants develop the habit of ‘notifying’ the scheme of when they are planning to travel to the selected destinations

Setting up your own liftshare would mean:

  • Having a membership process, through which you can create a profile for each member (gender, age group, smoker/non-smoker etc)
  • Provide a mechanism for your liftshare scheme members to advertise details of the journeys they wish to share, and for others to view this information and indicate their interest in sharing a journey. This could be through paper postings on a notice board or on the internet by using for example, a Gmail calendar.
  • Most schemes would need a co-ordinator, who may need to hold contact details of members, and pass these on when appropriate.

A liftshare scheme should only be involved in connecting people with similar journey requirements, not participate in making specific journey arrangements for people. If you are considering this option be careful that you are not actually wanting to run a Voluntary Car Scheme.    

Liftshare schemes allow individuals to refuse to share a journey for any reason. However, refusing a journey match may be more sensitive in a local community (An individual offers to share a journey but another occupant is not comfortable with the arrangement). Some people only want to participate in liftshare schemes if they can specify the type of person they will share with.  For example, a female driver may not want a male passenger or one member may not be comfortable with another members driving style.  It is vital to be sensitive to peoples preferences, and provide mechanisms for people to turn down liftshare requests if they wish.

What to do next:

  • Gather local support
  • Choose the type and level of scheme
  • Create mechanisms for liftshare members to registering journeys (if applicable)

Where to get further advice?

Business Travel Plan Adviser
Economy, Transport and Environment Department
Hampshire County Council
Telephone: 01962 846813
Email: Katya.Holloway@hants.gov.uk

Carplus
Telephone: 0113 234 9299

Documents and web links

Hantscarshare is the Hampshire based car sharing scheme operated as a partnership between Hampshire County Council and Liftshare.