Car Sharing Schemes
Car sharing is becoming more popular with festival goers, as more and more festivals provide some form of incentive to increase car occupancy levels, such as a reduced car parking charge for a full car, or even competitions to win upgrades when travelling to the festival in a full car.
While these schemes offer the chance to save money, they also save carbon: having three people in a car is the third most sustainable method of travel, behind coach travel and train, at 115g CO2 per passenger mile. A car with 1 person is a staggering 345g CO2 per passenger mile. These schemes are examples of collaborative consumption in practice, and with 38m empty car seats travelling around Britain every day they provide a practical, more economical and environmentally efficient way to travel.
Liftshare and Freewheelers are two established online communities which help to match up similar journeys to create car pools. The schemes operate nationally, with specific groupings emerging around particular festival events - the online community forums help to build up hype around a festival or event and a substantial number of festivals provide direct links to these sites. Liftshare also provides a travel calculator for users to see how much carbon and cash they'd save on a particular journey. These sites are increasing in popularity: Liftshare has approximately 448,000 members registered at the time of writing.
The new kid on the block is goCarShare, a car sharing website built around Facebook, specifically aimed at young people. Drummond Gilbert was inspired to set up the initiative after “seeing miserable people sitting alone in stationary cars”. Like other car sharing schemes, goCarShare re-imagines our roads as less congested and less polluted, and car journeys as social and fun, rather than solitary and private experiences.
goCarShare is comparable to Liftshare and Freewheelers, the difference being that it connects people via Facebook so that users see each others details, such as profile picture, gender, whether they have mutual friends and music and movies listed on their profile, eliminating some of the anxieties around sharing with strangers. The service is free to use, but passengers contribute towards the petrol costs for the journey. An iPhone App will be launched soon, as well as a car sharing calendar for Football clubs for the 2011/2012 season.
Over 50 UK festivals are now signed up to use and promote schemes such as these to their audiences including Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds, Latitude, The Big Chill, Rockness, The Secret Garden Party, Edinburgh Fringe, Relentless Boardmasters, Lounge on the Farm, Glade and Truck.
Incentivising the scheme: goCarShare
goCarShare has become directly involved in the incentivisation of car sharing with UK festivals that it has partnered with. In summer 2011 drivers to certain festivals, such as Big Chill and Leeds, were given special goCarShare bumper stickers which entered them into a prize draw to upgrade to a VIP festival ticket.
The company is also running a promotional video competition that allows users to upload videos of their festival experiences and whoever receives the most Facebook ‘likes’ will win tickets for themselves and their car sharers to some of next years festivals.
In order to start the ball rolling and sign-up drivers from their target audience of young people, goCarShare have been touring Universities and setting up specific goCarShare Facebook sites for them to help students find local car sharing opportunities more easily.
Cutting emissions off road
It's important for car share schemes to bear in mind that office operations have an environmental impact too, despite the great job they do to reduce carbon emissions on the road. goCarShare has signed up to the 10:10 campaign, and aims to save emissions produced by company operations through:
- staff cycling, travelling by public transport and driving an electric car
- installing LED lighting in work areas
- using recycled materials as much possible
- using bamboo lanyards and climate neutral, organic t-shirts for promotion